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Congressional committee asks Justice Department to investigate Clemens

Congressional committee asks Justice Department to investigate Clemens

Roger Clemens' denial of steroid use warrants further investigation, the U.S. Congress said on Wednesday in asking the Justice Department to determine whether the star pitcher lied under oath in testimony to one of its committees.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman and member Tom Davis sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, urging more scrutiny of Clemens' statements in a Feb. 5 sworn deposition and at a Feb. 13 public hearing where he said he "never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone."
"That testimony is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of Brian McNamee, who testified that he personally injected Mr. Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone," the congressmen wrote.
"Mr. Clemens's testimony is also contradicted by the sworn deposition testimony and affidavit submitted to the committee by Andrew Pettitte, a former teammate of Mr. Clemens, whose testimony and affidavit reported that Mr. Clemens had admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone," the letter said.
Clemens declined to comment on Wednesday when approached by reporters at the Houston Astros' spring training camp in Kissimmee, Florida. Pettitte, with the New York Yankees in Florida, declined comment through a team spokesman.
"Now we are done with the circus of public opinion, and we are moving to the courtroom," Clemens' lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Thankfully, we are now about to enter an arena where there are rules and people can be held properly accountable for outrageous statements."
McNamee, Clemens' former personal trainer, told federal prosecutors, Major League Baseball investigator George Mitchell and Congress that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner at least 16 times with human growth hormone and steroids from 1998 to 2001. Clemens repeatedly and vigorously denied the allegations.
Congress turned its attention to the matter because Clemens' denials of McNamee's allegations questioned the legitimacy of the Mitchell Report, prepared by the former senator.
After both men stuck to their stories under oath, it was expected that one or the other _ or perhaps both _ would be referred to the Justice Department for a criminal inquiry. Instead, only Clemens faces additional scrutiny, after the committee decided not to refer McNamee.
His prominent place in the Mitchell Report tainted the legacy of Clemens, who ranks eighth in major league history with 354 wins. Now his legal fate could rest with the Justice Department, which must decide whether to follow the recommendation and open a probe.
"It's what we expected, but Brian is not joyful about this. No one is celebrating," said McNamee's lead lawyer, Earl Ward. "We think it's a sad and unfortunate situation that one of baseball's greatest pitchers now has the potential of being a defendant in a criminal case."
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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan in Kissimmee, Florida, contributed to this report.