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Feds bulk up for retrial of Roger Clemens over steroids

The Justice Department, embarrassed by an error that caused a mistrial of Roger Clemens last year, has added more prosecutors as it seeks to convict the famed pitcher of lying to Congress when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.

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"They bulked up their team," Brand said. "They're going belt-to-suspenders so they don't make any mistakes."

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Both Hardin and the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment for this story, citing Walton's gag order.

Michael McCann, a law professor and director of the sports law institute at Vermont Law School, said it was unusual to have so many prosecutors "for a perjury case that isn't terribly complicated."

He said the department has extra motivation to convict Clemens, given the amount of money spent on the case and the underwhelming outcome of its more-than-seven-year investigation of Barry Bonds over steroids.

Bonds, baseball's career home run leader, was found guilty last year on just one count, obstruction of justice, for giving an evasive answer to a grand jury when asked about drug use. He received a sentence of 30 days confinement at his estate in Beverly Hills. Prosecutors dropped three other counts charging Bonds with making false statements after the jury deadlocked on those charges. Bonds has appealed his conviction.

"For the government to lose this case after obtaining a very mild victory against Bonds," McCann said, "would invite a lot of questions about the appropriateness of these prosecutions."

In addition, the Justice Department recently closed, without bringing any charges, an expensive two-year, multi-continent investigation of possible drug use by Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who beat cancer and won the Tour de France seven straight times.

The essence of the Clemens case remains the same: The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is charged with perjury, false statements, and obstruction of Congress for telling a House committee under oath, in both a public hearing and in a deposition with committee staff, that he hadn't used steroids or human growth hormone during his 24-season career.

Defense lawyers indicated at last year's brief trial they would question if it was proper for lawmakers to investigate whether Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, but that argument didn't draw much sympathy from Walton.

The key witness for the government will be Clemens' former strength trainer, Brian McNamee, who says he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, and even kept the used needles that will be entered as scientific evidence at trial.

Clemens' lawyers will seek to discredit McNamee, who provided drugs to several professional baseball players and has acknowledged he hasn't always told the truth about Clemens' drug use and other matters. McNamee initially denied giving Clemens drugs, before admitting to federal agents he injected the pitcher. The defense team has said that the trainer fabricated the evidence.

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