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Roger Clemens Perjury Trial Begins

By Dirk Hanson 07/13/11

Baseball superstar accused of using performance-enhancing drugs and lying about it before Congress.

Clemens denies drugs and perjury.
Photo via uncoached/

Roger Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs to extend his career, then lied about it to Congress, federal prosecutors told jurors in openings statements at the baseball legend’s trial on perjury charges. Clemens has won more awards than any pitcher in baseball history. Why would he lie? Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham provided an answer: “To admit something like this would have a negative influence” on Clemens’ ability to make the Baseball Hall of Fame. “This is something that Mr. Clemens wants,” Durham said. As the Washington Post summarized it: “Clemens is accused of lying about taking steroids and Human Growth Hormone in 2008 to a Congressional committee investigating the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. His trainer, Brian McNamee, testified that he had injected Clemens with those substances with the pitcher’s knowledge between 1998 and 2001.” The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had been holding hearings over concerns about young athletes taking steroids.

This afternoon, in his opening statement, Clemens’ defense attorney Rusty Hardin fired back, claiming that former trainer Brian McNamee “is a liar.” As for the charge that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his career, Hardin pointed out that Clemens “continued to dominate Major League Baseball in the years after McNamee alleges he last injected Clemens with steroids in 2001.” Hardin also questioned the amount of state and federal resources devoted to the case, noting that more than 100 law enforcement officials had been involved.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]

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