Two weeks after Roger Clemens insisted on a Congressional hearing so he could deny ever using performance enhancing drugs, a House committee formally asked the FBI to investigate whether Clemens lied to them under oath.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and ranking member Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., have sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking that they determine whether Clemens "committed perjury and made knowingly false statements."
"Our only conclusion is that significant questions have been raised about Mr. Clemens' truthfulness and that further investigation by the Department of Justice is warranted," the letter states.
During the Feb. 13 hearing Clemens, considered one of the premier pitchers of baseball, repeatedly rejected claims by his former trainer Brian NcNamee that he had been injected with human growth hormone to gain an illegal edge on the competition.
"I never took steroids or human growth hormone," Clemens defiantly stated.
"That testimony is directly contradicted by the sworn testimony of Brian McNamee, who testified that he personally injected Mr. Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone," Waxman and Davis wrote to the Department of Justice.
"Mr. Clemens's testimony is also contradicted by the sworn deposition testimony and affidavit submitted to the committee by Andrew Pettitte, a former teammate of Mr. Clemens, whose testimony and affidavit reported that Mr. Clemens had admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone," the letter states.
Sitting at the same table during that hearing was McNamee, who swore under oath that he injected Clemens with the drugs several times.
"Make no mistake," McNamee testified, "I injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction." McNamee has been cooperating with federal investigators looking into the use of steroids in professional sports.
Davis summed up the confrontation that day when he said, "Someone is lying in spectacular fashion."
Clemens attorney Lanny Breuer vowed Wednesday to continue to fight to defend his client now that the Department of Justice is considering an investigation.
"He has simply said that what Brian McNamee said about him isn't true, he said that from the beginning, he's resolute in that and he will continue to maintain in whatever forum he's in," Breuer told ABC News.
There had been some speculation that Congress might refer both Clemens and McNamee to the Department of Justice for investigation, but Clemens was the only name sent up.
The Department of Justice is not obligated to act on the Congressional referral, nor does it need a referral to begin an investigation on its own.
In a signal that federal agents were interested in Clemens' testimony, Jeff Novitsky, the government's lead investigator into the use of steroids in professional sports, attended the hearing sitting silently in the second row.
The referral to DOJ is the latest blow to Clemens' credibility. A key element of Clemens' testimony is that he initially denied he was ever at the party at the home of Jose Canseco. Clemens changed his testimony when he learned that pictures had emerged that might place him at the party.
McNamee's lawyer said the Congressional referral was the right thing to do.