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Clemens cleared

The saga ends.

A federal jury today acquitted baseball superstar Roger Clemens on charges of lying to Congress about the use of performance enhancing drugs in a stinging rebuke to a four-year campaign by legislators and federal prosecutors to turn the legendary pitcher into a cautionary icon for baseball’s doping scandal.

The 49-year-old Houstonian, winner of seven Cy Young Awards for pitching excellence during a 24-season career, mounted a successful multimillion dollar defense led by famed Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin to defeat six felony charges with maximum cumulative penalties of up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

The charges stemmed from Clemens’ sworn testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008 where the retired veteran of four major league baseball teams vehemently denied receiving injections of anabolic steroids or human growth hormone from long-time strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee between 1998 and 2001.

The committee, accepting McNamee’s version of events, referred Clemens’ contradictory testimony to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation.

The protracted inquiry involved 93 federal agents and four assistant U.S. attorneys interviewing 179 people at 68 locations to collect evidence that led to the charges and ten weeks of legal proceedings featuring 46 witnesses.

All for nothing, as it turns out. Can we please now consign the whole “steroid era” thing to the past and move on? I’d appreciate it. Allen Barra has more.

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