Clemens pressed by Congress |

Clemens pressed by Congress

Ronald Blum and Howard Fendrich
Associated Press
Vail CO, Colorado

Clemens pressed by Congress, denies accusations by Pettitte, McNamee


Eds: TOPS with questioning. Moving on general news and sports services.

WASHINGTON (AP) ” Roger Clemens struggled to find the right words under questioning during a congressional hearing Wednesday and denied new accounts of drug use made against him by former teammate and close friend Andy Pettitte.

Using words like “misremembered” and mispronouncing the last name of his chief accuser, Brian McNamee, Clemens rambled and stumbled during his early remarks on Capitol Hill.

Clemens’ reputation and legacy were on the line, and there was the possibility that criminal charges could follow after the seven-time Cy Young winner testified.

“I have never taken steroids or HGH,” Clemens said, his voice rising. “No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored.”

It seemed clear nearly from the start that the committee would not treat Clemens with kid gloves, despite all those autographs he signed while touring Congress in recent days.

Clemens and McNamee were separated by one seat in the same room where Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro once saw their careers tarnished. Congressmen immediately questioned the credibility of both Clemens and McNamee.

Committee chairman Henry Waxman pointed out inconsistencies in Clemens’ comments. Rep. Dan Burton repeatedly read remarks McNamee had made, and each time the former trainer was forced to admit they were untrue.

“This is really disgusting. You’re here as a sworn witness, you’re here under oath, and yet we have lie after lie after lie,” the Indiana Republican said. “I know one thing I don’t believe, and that’s you.”

The first congressman to question Clemens, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., set the tone within minutes, repeatedly reminding Clemens he was under oath and admonishing the pitcher to “keep your voice up.” Flat-panel television on hearing room walls showed evidence, including Pettitte’s affidavit.

The hearing started about an hour after several teams opened spring training. This was far from the sunny settings of Florida and Arizona.

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