US & Canada

Baseball star Roger Clemens acquitted of perjury

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Media captionRoger Clemens thanked his team-mates as he broke down after the verdict

A former US baseball star has been cleared of lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.

Roger Clemens, 49, faced six counts of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress in a nationally televised hearing in February 2008.

He has repeatedly denied using steroids and human growth hormone during a 24-year career as a professional athlete.

The verdict came after a 10-week trial and a five-year investigation into one of baseball's most renowned figures.

Last year a mistrial was declared after the initial proceedings against Mr Clemens fell apart when prosecutors showed the jury inadmissible evidence.

In the second trial against Mr Clemens, his former team-mate Andy Pettitte testified that the pitcher once told him he had used human growth hormone.

But during cross-examination, Mr Pettitte said there was a "50-50" chance he had misheard.

Mr Clemens' strength coach Brian McNamee was the only witness who claimed first-hand knowledge of the athlete's use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Defence lawyers challenged his credibility, though, and the prosecution acknowledged Mr McNamee was a "flawed man".

After the verdict was read, Mr Clemens' family hugged in the courtroom and his wife, Debbie, was seen dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Roger Clemens - named best pitcher in Major League Baseball seven times - is due to appear on the ballot for baseball's Hall of Fame in 2013.

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