Congress asking Justice Department to investigate Tejada

Updated: January 15, 2008, 11:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- Congress asked the Justice Department to investigate whether former American League MVP Miguel Tejada lied to House committee staff when he was interviewed in 2005 in connection with the Rafael Palmeiro steroids case.

House Oversight and Government Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) opened Tuesday's hearing into the Mitchell report about drug use in baseball by announcing that he and ranking minority member Tom Davis (R-Va.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday.

"Tejada told the committee that he never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs and that he had no knowledge of other players using or even talking about steroids," Waxman said. "Well, the Mitchell report, however, directly contradicts key elements of Mr. Tejada's testimony."

Said Davis: "We've concluded further investigation is warranted."

Tejada told ESPNdeportes.com that Tuesday was "a terrible day." He was primarily referring to the fact that his brother Freddy Manuel Tejada was killed in a motorcycle accident. But the Astros shortstop did make a statement regarding the committee's remarks.

"Appropriately, I am waiting for the meeting with the Justice Department to discuss issues brought to light in the letter from the committee," Tejada said.

"Unfortunately, at this time I can't comment further on the matter."

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

Miguel Tejada

Tejada

The committee later 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, who at the time was a Baltimore Orioles teammate of Palmeiro's. Tejada was traded to the Houston Astros on Dec. 12.

Astros spokesman Jimmy Stanton said the team had no comment on the Tejada situation.

The letter to the U.S. attorney general contains excerpts from the Aug. 26, 2005, interview of Tejada at a hotel in Baltimore. At the time, he and Palmeiro played for the Orioles.

"Has there been discussion among other players about steroids?" a committee staffer asked, according to the letter.

"No, I never heard," Tejada replied.

"You never knew of any other player using steroids?" Tejada was asked.

"No," he replied.

"Have you ever taken a steroid before?" he was asked at another point.

"No," he said.

Tejada also answered "No" when asked whether he had ever taken any illegal performance-enhancing drugs, andro or any other steroid precursor.

The letter then quotes a portion of the Mitchell report in which Tejada's former Oakland Athletics teammate Adam Piatt said he discussed steroid use with Tejada, and "recalled that he provided Tejada with testosterone or Deca-Durabolin, as well as human growth hormone."

Mitchell's report also included copies of checks allegedly written by Tejada to Piatt in March 2003 for $3,100 and $3,200.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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