Clemens Goes On Trial

Former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher — and Houston resident Roger Clemens is scheduled to go on trial today in Washington D.C.. Clemens is accused of lying under oath to Congress. Although a number of high profile baseball players came forward and admitted using performance-enhancing drugs, like steroids before the drug testing days of baseball — Clemens continues to maintain his innocence. Bill Stamps has more.

“Please stand and raise your right hand.”

“Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you will give before this committee, will be the truth and nothing but the truth?”

Three years ago Roger Clemens testified before a Congressional committee that was investigating the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.

Clemen’s own personal trainer testified that he personally injected the pitcher with human growth hormone, but Clemens told members of Congress it was a lie.

“I’m not saying Senator Mitchell’s report is entirely wrong. I am saying Brian McNamee’s statements about me are wrong. Let me be clear, I have never take steroids or HGH, thank you.”

Clemens now faces six felony counts of perjury. The same charges leveled against home run king Barry Bonds and Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones.

“I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I want all of you to know that today, I plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents.”

Jones spent six months in federal prison for her offence.  Bonds was acquitted of all charges except one: giving an evasive answer to a grand jury.

Dru Stevenson is a criminal law professor at South Texas College of Law.  He says convicting high profile athletes or celebrities can be difficult.

“Juries like celebrities. You know I mean, these people are athletes, actresses and actors. People love them. And so it’s a, and prosecutors have this bizarre addiction to going after celebrities. They think it’s going to make their career and it’s very easy for things to end like the OJ Simpson trial did.”

Stevenson says even if Clemens is found guilty of all charges, the judge would most likely order the sentences to be served concurrently, meaning Clemens would likely spend little time behind bars.

“There’s no victim here. It’s a little hard for me to imagine that they’re going to send him away for twenty or thirty years…He lied to a Congressional hearing but it’s a little different than perjuring yourself in court and having someone else go to jail because of what you said. The courts are aware of that. The guy didn’t kill anyone or take other people’s money or something like that.”

Whether its Alex Rodriguez or Mark McGwire, a number of high profile baseball players have come forward and admitted using steroids during the 90’s and early 2000’s before it became a banned substance. Clemens says not him and he’s ready to prove it in court.