Clemens Grilled for Five Hours

WASHINGTON -- Roger Clemens exited the House hearing room at 2:40 p.m., more than five hours after he first arrived Tuesday morning to give private, sworn testimony Tuesday to congressional lawyers about whether he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Upon exiting, accompanied by his lawyers, he made a brief statement to waiting reporters and media.

"I just want to thank the committee, the staff I just met with. They were very courteous," Clemens said. "It was great to tell them what I've been saying all along. I've never used steroids or human growth hormone. Thanks very much."

Roger Clemens, followed by one of his attorneys, Lanny Breuer, arrived Tuesday morning to give testimony in front of house committee lawyers.


Clemens had declined to take questions from reporters on his way in, saying only, "Good morning," before heading into the offices of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Wearing a pinstriped gray suit instead of a pinstriped New York Yankees uniform, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner had paused briefly to look around the House hearing room where he is to testify next week.

Clemens was scheduled to give the deposition to committee lawyers behind closed doors one day after his former Yankees teammate and workout partner Andy Pettitte delivered sworn testimony for about 2½ hours.

Both pitchers' private interviews with staff members from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are part of preparation for a Feb. 13 hearing. That public session is expected to focus on allegations made in the Mitchell report by his former trainer, Brian McNamee, that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with performance-enhancing drugs

Clemens, 45, ranks eighth in major league history with 354 career wins. He put off retirement yet again in 2007, returning to the Yankees in June and going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA.

"Roger is not going to take the Fifth Amendment," one of Clemens' lawyers, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement e-mailed Monday by spokesman Joe Householder. "He is going to answer the committee's questions truthfully under oath."

McNamee is scheduled to appear Thursday. One of his lawyers, Earl Ward, said no decision had been made on whether he would submit to a deposition or transcribed interview. It is a crime to lie to Congress, regardless of whether a person is under oath, so the distinction between the two has more to do with the format of the questioning and the confidentiality of the transcript.

Pettitte, who chose to be deposed, did not take questions from the media afterward as he walked from the committee offices to an elevator in the Rayburn House Office Building. Indeed, he only said one word: "No," in response to whether he would talk to reporters.

Wearing a pinstriped gray suit and bright, striped tie, Pettitte was accompanied by his wife and three lawyers.

"At the committee's request, Andy Pettitte voluntarily met with representatives of the committee this morning, and fully answered all of the inquiries made of him in a sworn deposition," two of Pettitte's lawyers, Jay Reisinger and Thomas Farrell, said in a statement. "Out of respect for the sensitive nature of these proceedings, and out of deference to the committee's request for confidentiality, we, on behalf of Mr. Pettitte, will not comment on the nature or specifics of his testimony."

Staff members for the committee declined to comment.

McNamee told former Senate majority leader George Mitchell he injected Pettitte with HGH. Pettitte lent credence to Mitchell's findings by acknowledging two days after the report was released in December that he did try HGH for two days in 2002 to help deal with an elbow injury.

The committee announced Monday it will hold yet another hearing Feb. 12, entitled, "Myths and Facts about Human Growth Hormone, B-12, and Other Substances." The committee said medical experts will testify about the effects of such substances.

Another former Yankees player, Chuck Knoblauch, spoke to committee staff Friday. An employee of the sports agency that represents Clemens and Pettitte, Jim Murray, went to Capitol Hill to be interviewed Thursday.

McNamee said he injected Clemens with HGH and steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens has repeatedly and vigorously denied that. He did acknowledge he received injections from McNamee, but he said they were for vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine.

When Mitchell testified at a committee hearing Jan. 15, he was asked whether he was still comfortable with McNamee's credibility.

"We believe that the statements provided to us were truthful," Mitchell said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press