A former U.S. representative who prodded the Justice Department investigation that led to charges against Roger Clemens for lying to Congress said the seven-time Cy Young Award winner has paid his dues, and he doesn’t see a reason to continue putting him on trial.
“I think he’s suffered enough,” said former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who was the top Republican on the committee in 2008 when Clemens testified he had not used steroids.
Davis, speaking after a political roundtable with reporters, stressed that he is not trying to tell the Justice Department how to proceed in the case.
He did say the former pitcher already has spent a lot of money defending himself, lost much of his reputation and may never be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Clemens won 354 games in a 24-season career, and his 4,672 strikeouts are third all-time.
“If you think Roger Clemens is getting off by dropping the charges, that’s wrong,” Davis said.
Last month, a federal district court judge in Washington declared a mistrial in the case against Clemens, saying prosecutors had presented evidence to the jury that was supposed to have been barred from the trial.
Clemens has said a new trial would be double jeopardy. The judge will hold a hearing next month to consider the issue.
Clemens faces charges of perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements, all stemming from his testimony in 2008 to the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. He denies all the allegations.
At the time, he volunteered to appear before Congress and denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
But two weeks later, Davis and the committee’s chairman at the time, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Clemens had perjured himself.
Davis, an avid baseball fan, helped lead the congressional hearings that prompted Major League Baseball to impose stiffer penalties and better testing.
Asked if Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame, Davis said the pitcher played in an era when steroid use was the norm, and he compared it to drivers speeding on a highway.
“Everybody’s going 55, it says 40, all of a sudden then start enforcing it, you get caught. That’s steroids,” he said.
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