Congressional Panel Asks Clemens to Testify

Roger Clemens, left, throws alongside strength coach Brian McNamee at the Houston Astros minor league baseball mini camp in Kissimmee, Fla., in this Feb. 27, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Roger Clemens, left, throws alongside strength coach Brian McNamee at the Houston Astros minor league baseball mini camp in Kissimmee, Fla., in this Feb. 27, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Steven Senne - AP)
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 5, 2008

The congressional committee that produced some of the defining moments of baseball's "steroids era" at a hearing nearly three years ago announced yesterday it has asked pitcher Roger Clemens and his former trainer to appear at a hearing Jan. 16 to testify under oath about allegations Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), has invited Clemens and former trainer Brian McNamee to testify at the hearing, along with Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch -- Clemens's former New York Yankees teammates and former McNamee clients -- and former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk J. Radomski.

According to the Mitchell report released last month -- following a 21-month investigation, headed by former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell, into performance-enhancing drug use in baseball -- McNamee told investigators he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH at least 16 times between 1998 and 2001. Clemens has denied McNamee's charges, and he told the CBS News show "60 Minutes," in an interview to air tomorrow, that McNamee injected him only with lidocaine and vitamin B-12.

Neither Clemens nor McNamee has testified under oath about the allegations, although McNamee spoke to Mitchell under an agreement with federal officials that he could face criminal charges if he made false statements.

"We welcome Chairman Waxman and the Committee's interest in this very serious matter," Rusty Hardin, Clemens's attorney, said in a written statement. "Roger is willing to answer questions, including those posed to him while under oath. We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."

Pettitte, Clemens's close friend, and Knoblauch, who played with Clemens and Pettitte on the 1999 and 2000 World Series champion Yankees, were also named in the Mitchell report as having used illegal drugs. Radomski, who is awaiting sentencing on federal steroids distribution charges, was the primary source for the report, and according to McNamee's testimony, supplied McNamee with the drugs he used to inject both Clemens and Pettitte.

Pettitte confirmed much of McNamee's account in the Mitchell report, admitting he used HGH to treat an elbow injury in 2002.

A committee spokesman said yesterday that the invitations issued to Clemens, McNamee, Pettitte, Knoblauch and Radomski were not subpoenas, but that the committee could exercise its subpoena power if any of the witnesses decline the invitation.

The committee had previously scheduled a hearing for Jan. 15, in which Commissioner Bud Selig and union chief Donald Fehr are expected to be questioned on their willingness to accept and implement the changes proposed by Mitchell to baseball's steroid testing program.

"Our primary focus is on the future, and the recommendations Senator Mitchell made," said Philip Schiliro, Waxman's chief of staff, when asked about the purpose of the second hearing. "There is one person who has raised accuracy issues with the Mitchell report, and that is Roger Clemens, and because of that, the committee felt it was a good idea to invite these witnesses to . . . find out about that issue."

Schiliro said Pettitte and Knoblauch were invited to testify, as former McNamee clients, in order "to try to assess the accuracy of the information."

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the ranking minority member of the committee, also wanted the second hearing involving players, according to a spokesman for Davis.

"If our goal is to fully review Senator Mitchell's findings and recommendations, we needed this second day of perspective," spokesman David Marin said.

The two days of hearings will come roughly 34 months after the same committee brought star players Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco to Capitol Hill in a spectacle that included Palmeiro's infamous finger-pointing denial of steroid use and McGwire's tearful, repeated assertion that he "was not here to talk about the past." Committee members also threatened to take action if baseball did not strengthen its testing policy, and eight months after that hearing, MLB and the union agreed to a tougher policy.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company