Clemens on Capitol Hill
Roger Clemens did solemnly swear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he has never taken human growth hormone or steroids, and that any injections he received from former trainer Brian McNamee were simply Vitamin B-12 and the painkiller Lidocaine.
Brian McNamee solemnly swore that he shot Clemens up with HGH, Winstrol, and testosterone on at least 20 occasions and that he had "no reason to lie, and every reason not to." McNamee later received an apology from committee chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Cal.) for harsh treatment by some inquisitors, one of whom -- Rep. Christopher Shays (R.-Conn.) -- branded the embattled trainer "a drug dealer" -- a point McNamee disputed.
Clemens' wife, Debbie, was a "pawn" (her term) in the key dispute about the pitcher's alleged admission to former teammate and friend Andy Pettitte that he had used HGH. Clemens insisted that the conspicuously absent Pettitte "misremembered" their conversation, and that it was really about the use of HGH by an old man in a commercial, and by Debbie, who was injected by McNamee in the Clemens boudoir, supposedly without the pitcher's knowledge.
For almost four hours, Clemens weathered the indignity of incredulous responses from some committee members as well as a lengthy debate about his buttocks and the cause of an abscess in 1998 that may or may not have been caused by injections of steroids.
Charles Scheeler, a Mitchell Report investigator, sat silently through much of the hearing and thus endured the indignity of being referred to as a "potted plant" by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.). When challenged, Scheeler stood by the veracity of the report and then returned to the scenery.
The squirrelly seven-time Cy Young winner was occasionally counseled by his lawyers when the going got tough, particularly when the issue of his meeting with his former nanny came up. The central questions: Did Clemens attend a 1998 party hosted by admitted steroid-user Jose Canseco, and had Clemens attempted to sway the nanny's testimony? (She said he was there. He insisted he wasn't).
Clemens' legal team of Rusty Hardin (left) and Lanny Breuer indignantly defended their client against Waxman's suggestion that Clemens had tampered with a witness (the nanny). Hardin later referred to McNamee's physical evidence (syringes and gauze allegedly from the Clemens injections) as "the silliest poppycock I've ever seen. There's not a court in the world that would admit those things."
As he nervously and sometimes angrily stuck to his story, Clemens was scolded by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) for vague, rambling or seemingly contradictory responses. Cummings reminded Clemens that he was under oath and said, "It's hard to believe you, sir." Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) tried to comfort Clemens with the assurance, "you're going to Heaven."
Lurking ominously behind Clemens during the hearing was IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzki, who helped build the Barry Bonds perjury case and secure the conviction of track star Marion Jones for lying about her use of performance-enhancers. Novitzki will surely play a role in any investigation into the honesty of Clemens, who expressed gratitude for having had his day and the confidence that he would be back in Washington "under different terms." (Clemens was indicted on charges of perjury on Aug. 19, 2010.)