Tejada charged with lying about steroids

February 10, 2009 1:08:05 PM PST
All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada has been charged with lying to Congress about steroids, with the baseball player scheduled to appear in court Wednesday where he is expected to plead guilty.

The charges against Tejada, who currently plays for the Houston Astros, were outlined in documents filed in Washington federal court on Tuesday.

The documents indicate that a plea agreement has been reached with Tejada, who won the 2002 American League Most Valuable Player award while playing for the Oakland Athletics and is a five-time All-Star.

Tejada faces as much as a year in jail if convicted on the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress. Under federal guidelines, he would probably receive a lighter sentence.

The charge came in a legal document called a "criminal information," which only can be filed with the defendant's consent and typically signals a plea deal. A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST Wednesday in Washington, and Tejada and his lawyer plan to hold a news conference later in the day in Houston.

Messages left for his attorney, Mark Tuohey, were not immediately returned.

The documents were filed a day after superstar Alex Rodriguez acknowledged past use of performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez does not face charges.

The FBI also is investigating whether Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner, lied to Congress last year when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone.

In the documents filed Tuesday, Tejada is charged with lying to investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2005 when he denied knowledge of an ex-teammate's use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The teammate is not identified in court documents, but is referred to as having played with Tejada on the Athletics.

Tejada "unlawfully withheld pertinent information from the committee because defendant Tejada, before and during his interview with the committee staff, then and there well knew that player #1, one of his teammates on the Oakland Athletics, had used steroids and HGH," the papers state.

Former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who chaired the committee in 2005, said he believed Tejada lied.

"It just shows that when you do something illegal like this, that you pay a price," Davis said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The court papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham charge that during spring training in 2003, Tejada had purchased a substance believed to be HGH from the player, giving him payments of $3,100 and $3,200.

In the Mitchell Report, which examined steroid use in baseball, Oakland outfielder Adam Piatt is cited saying he discussed steroid use with Tejada and having provided Tejada with testosterone and human growth hormone.

The Mitchell Report, issued in December 2007, also included copies of checks allegedly written by Tejada to Piatt in March 2003 for $3,100 and $3,200 - the same payment amounts in Tuesday's court filing.

Tejada came under scrutiny after another ex-teammate, Baltimore Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro, testified before the House committee.

In January 2008, the House panel asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Tejada lied to committee investigators when he was interviewed in connection with the Palmeiro steroids case.

When that same House panel held a hearing in March 2005, Palmeiro jabbed a finger at lawmakers and declared: "I have never used steroids, period." Palmeiro was suspended by baseball later that year after testing positive for a steroid.

The committee looked into whether Palmeiro should face perjury charges but eventually dropped the matter.

Palmeiro said his positive test must have resulted from a B-12 vitamin injection given to him by Tejada.

That prompted Congress to talk to Tejada.