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08/19/10 8:00 PM ET

Clemens indicted for perjury, obstruction

Former pitching star faces six counts of federal charges

Federal authorities indicted Roger Clemens on six charges on Thursday, alleging that he made false statements to Congress, obstructed justice and committed perjury while denying his use of performance-enhancing substances. The charges were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The indictment, obtained from federal court electronic records, includes two counts of obstruction of justice, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury.

If found guilty, Clemens faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, according to a statement by the United States Department of Justice that announced the indictment. Under the current sentencing guidelines, the statement continues, his sentence would likely be 15-21 months if convicted.

"Americans have a right to expect that witnesses who testify under oath before Congress will tell the truth," Ronald C. Machen, the U.S. Attorney who filed the charges, said in the Department of Justice's statement. "Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress."

Clemens responded on Twitter by writing: "I never took HGH or steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the government's accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court."

The case reportedly was assigned to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who presided over the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. No date was set for Clemens' initial court appearance.

"I think people understand that sometimes, the government is wrong, and they are in this case," Clemens' lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a press conference on Thursday. "Roger is looking forward to his day in court. He's happy this happened. We have known for some time that this was going to happen."

In February 2008, Clemens appeared in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform along with Brian McNamee -- Clemens' former trainer who accused the former Cy Young Award winner of using PEDs in the December 2007 Mitchell Report -- and swore under oath that he did not take steroids while denying several other allegations.

McNamee had told federal agents, baseball investigator George Mitchell and the committee that he had injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and human-growth hormone. Clemens has maintained that McNamee was lying.

Clemens, 48, finished his 24-year Major League career with 354 wins, seven Cy Young Awards, two World Series titles and 4,672 strikeouts, which ranks third on the all-time list. His last season was with the Yankees in 2007.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Gonzo and 'The Show'. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.