Published February 28, 2008
|Subcommittee Asks DOJ To Investigate
Whether Clemens Perjured Himself
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether Roger Clemens “made false statements under oath about his suspected use of steroids and [HGH], strengthening the possibility that he could be charged with perjury,” according to Sandomir & Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. In a letter signed by Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Minority Member Tom Davis (R-VA) and sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the committee said that it “could not definitively say if Clemens had lied under oath” during a February 5 sworn deposition and the February 13 Congressional hearing, but that it “believed that the [DOJ] should pursue the matter.” The committee “did not reach the same conclusion” about former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee, who testified along with Clemens two weeks ago (N.Y TIMES, 2/28
). Waxman said that he and Davis “concluded that their committee did not have enough evidence to declare conclusively that a crime had not been committed by Clemens.” Waxman said that “all evidence will be turned over to the [DOJ].” Waxman: “That completes our work here” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/28
). Sources said that IRS agent Jeff Novitzky, who “would be the lead agent” if the DOJ opens an investigation against Clemens, “already has a trip planned to Clemens’ hometown of Houston during the next week.” He has “already begun to investigate Clemens" and will meet with Jose Canseco "to discuss the infamous party at Canseco’s house in 1998” (N.Y. POST, 2/28
PARTY LINES: In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes the bipartisan letter “appeared to indicate that Waxman and Davis had resolved the wide divide during the hearing, in which Democrats largely challenged Clemens and Republicans generally confronted McNamee.” However, Davis “issued a subsequent statement in which he appeared to chide Waxman for overstepping the bounds of the inquiry” (L.A. TIMES, 2/28). The N.Y. TIMES’ Sandomir & Schmidt report in addition to the letter, an 18-page memo on Clemens prepared by Waxman’s staff was “distributed to the Democrats on the panel and was far more explicit in making a case against Clemens -- to the point where unhappy Republicans seemed to regard it as overkill.” U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that the memo was a “‘tirade’ by Waxman.” He added the memo “shows that this was always about going after Clemens” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). Issa said that he “didn’t doubt that Clemens had perjured himself, but felt that the lies may not have been material to the larger issue of baseball’s steroid epidemic -- the original justification of the probe” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/28). U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) yesterday said he thought Clemens "was lying" despite indicating he believed Clemens' claims before the hearing. Towns: “Why would [Yankees P Andy] Pettitte, who is his close, personal friend, all of a sudden say we talked about (using HGH)? I don’t see (Pettitte) lying about that” (NEWSDAY, 2/28).
|Does Davis (l) Feel Waxman
Overstepped Bounds Of Inquiry?
JUDGMENT DAY: Waxman said Clemens' case was referred to the DOJ because the "contradictions and conflicts in what Clemens had to say, as compared to what others had to say” (AP, 2/28). U.S. Rep Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said that Clemens’ case is “different than the Miguel Tejada referral to the [DOJ].” Lynch also emphasized that the testimonies from Pettitte and McNamee were "not part of the letter” (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/28). George Washington Univ. law professor Jonathan Turley “counts four perjury charges and possibly one obstruction of justice charge -- all of which carry a maximum of five years in prison” (USA TODAY, 2/28). Although as a first-time offender, Clemens “would probably avoid doing the max” (N.Y. POST, 2/28). The DOJ “doesn’t have to act on a Congressional referral and can open a grand jury on its own to review the existing evidence” (MLB.com, 2/27). However, SI.com’s Michael McCann wrote the DOJ “will almost certainly honor the request and immediately commence a thorough investigation” (SI.com, 2/27). ESPN’s Lester Munson reported the DOJ “will probably decide this during the Bush administration. That means it has to be decided before January 2009. It will be up to (Mukasey) and his people in San Francisco and in Washington to decide what to do” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/27).
TIES THAT BIND: In DC, Shipley & Maske note yesterday’s referral brings to six -- Clemens, Tejada, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Trevor Graham and Tammy Thomas -- the number of current or former pro athletes who “could face, or have faced, federal charged of lying about steroid or other drug use in connection with the five-year-old investigation into a steroid ring run by [BALCO]” (WASHINGTON POST, 2/28).