Clemens risked prison when he rejected plea offer

Roger Clemens rejected a plea deal that would have spared him

prison time, and instead took his chances by going to trial.

Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin said in a telephone interview

Thursday that prosecutors offered to let the former pitcher plead

guilty to one count of lying to Congress when he denied using human

growth hormone. In exchange, Clemens would have received

probation.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was indicted in August 2010

on six counts for allegedly lying to Congress for denying he used

HGH as well as steroids. At the time, Hardin revealed that his

client had rejected a plea offer, but the lawyer declined to

provide the details.

In the interview Thursday, Hardin said his client was offered

the deal in December 2009 and immediately rejected it.

”His reason was, `I didn’t lie to Congress,”’ Hardin said. On

Monday, a jury in Washington acquitted Clemens on all counts.

Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Clemens probably would have

faced up to 15 months to 21 months in prison if convicted.

The first attempt to try Clemens last year ended in a mistrial

when prosecutors played a snippet of video evidence that had

previously been ruled inadmissible, and U.S. District Judge Reggie

Walton indicated back then that Clemens was looking at jail

time.

Explaining why he was calling a mistrial, Walton said, ”Because

if this man got convicted, from my perspective, knowing how I

sentence, he goes to jail. And I’m not going to, under the

circumstances, when this has happened, put this man’s liberty in

jeopardy.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia declined

comment.

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