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Mitchell testifies at House Oversight Committee


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Mitchell testifies, stands by McNamee

Calls former trainer for Clemens, Pettitte a 'truthful witness'

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com


WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and gave virtually the same rendition of his report on Major League Baseball's steroid era to a Congressional committee as the one he rendered to the public on Dec. 13, when it was released.

With one exception: Mitchell stood behind the testimony of Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer for Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, who told Mitchell and federal investigators that he had injected both pitchers with performance-enhancing drugs.


Clemens has since publicly denied the allegations against him documented in the Report, whereas Pettitte has corroborated the information about his own usage. McNamee, Clemens and Pettitte are expected to appear in front of this same House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Feb. 13.


Asked pointedly by a committee member if McNamee was a credible witness, Mitchell said, "Mr. McNamee had an overwhelming incentive to tell the truth. We believe that the statements provided to us were truthful."




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In related news...



Congress asking for probe on Tejada

Request going to Justice Department to see if former MVP lied


WASHINGTON -- A House Oversight Committee will ask the Department of Justice to open an investigation into whether Miguel Tejada gave false statements to members of the same committee back in 2005 about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, the Committee's chairman said in his opening remarks at a Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday.

The hearing, which was called to review the recommendations and findings of the report released last month by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, drew the attendance of Mitchell; Commissioner Bud Selig; Donald Fehr, the executive director of the Players Association; and several other high-level baseball officials -- Orioles owner Peter Angelos, Yankees president Randy Levine, Nationals president Stan Kasten and Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer.


U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) said that Tejada's three-year-old statement, that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, contradicted the findings of the Mitchell Report.


Tejada, then with the Orioles and now a member of the Astros, was interviewed in 2005 as part of an investigation into testimony given to the Committee on March 17 of that year by Rafael Palmiero. Palmiero, also then with the Orioles, was one of five players who attended that hearing. During his testimony and under oath, Palmiero wagged his finger at the panel and said that he had never used steroids.


In August of that year, Palmiero was suspended for 10 days under MLB's joint drug policy after testing positive for steroid use. Palmiero said at the time that he thought he had been injected, by Tejada, with vitamin B-12.


The Congress opened an investigation into whether Palmiero had committed perjury in his original remarks to the Committee. No charges we brought, because the Committee couldn't find enough evidence to do so.


"As part of that investigation, we interviewed Miguel Tejada for relevant information," Waxman said in his statement. "A transcript of that interview has never been made public out of respect for Mr. Tejada's privacy. But in the interview, Mr. Tejada told the Committee that he never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs and that he had no knowledge of other players using or even talking about using steroids.


"The Mitchell Report, however, directly contradicts key elements of Mr. Tejada's testimony. The contrast is stark and fundamental to the Committee's 2005 information. As a result, ranking member Tom Davis and I will be writing the Department of Justice today to request an investigation into whether Mr. Tejada gave truthful answers to the Committee."


Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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