WASHINGTON (AFP) –
Former Major League Baseball star Roger Clemens was acquitted on Monday on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress for denying he took performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens was found not guilty by a federal jury on three charges of making a false statement under oath, two charges of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress during a 2008 US Congressional hearing on doping in baseball.
If convicted, Clemens could have faced 30 years in prison and a fine of $1.5 million.
Clemens had steadfastly denied any wrongdoing even as his former trainer, Brian McNamee, told jurors that he had injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormones, an account he first gave US lawmakers in 2008.
“I put a lot of hard work into that career,” Clemens said outside the courthouse after the verdicts were announced.
“It’s kind of uncomfortable to sit there and hear people talk about you, good or bad. I want to thank the people who came in on my behalf. I appreciate my teammates who came in (and made) all the e-mails and phone calls.”
Asked how he felt after the verdict offered a measure of vindication, Clemens said, “Just very thankful and appreciative. I just want to thank these guys (his lawyers), who from day one listened to what I had to say.
“It has been a hard five years.”
Clemens thanked his family for support and paused, choked with emotion, before exclaiming in a sigh of relief, “Whew.”
Rusty Hardin, Clemens’ main attorney, said that they were surprised to be told there was a verdict because when they had departed the courthouse hours earlier they were told that a verdict was unlikely for two or three more days.
The verdict came after nearly 10 hours of deliberation by the jury, ending a 10-week trial that proved to be the deepest investigation yet into whether or not a Major League Baseball star had taken performance-enhancing drugs.