Report: Feds checking on possible links between Clemens, Houston clinic

Updated: March 8, 2008, 3:48 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Federal agents have contacted a former employee of a Houston fitness center in a bid to see whether Roger Clemens obtained performance-enhancing drugs in Houston, apparently broadening their probe of Clemens' congressional testimony, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper, citing the former employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said on Thursday that the agents inquired about the relationship between Shaun Kelley Weight Control and the ex-Yankees pitcher. The question was apparently also raised about whether Clemens knew the center's owner, Shaun K. Kelley.

Internal Revenue Service agents, including special agent Jeff Novitzky, are checking whether there are links between Kelley and any Clemens involvement in the purchase of steroids or human growth hormone. But agents have not yet interviewed Kelley, the news paper said, citing two lawyers familiar with the U.S. government's investigation of Clemens.

The agents are reported to be interested in interviewing a number of people in Houston, including Kelley, the lawyers said.

The FBI took over the Clemens case after Congress asked the Justice Department to look into Clemens' testimony at a Feb. 5 deposition and a Feb. 13 hearing. Clemens testified he never used steroids or HGH; his former trainer testified he injected Clemens with such substances at least 16 times between 1998 and 2001.

If investigators conclude Clemens lied about critical details, he could face charges of perjury, making false statements or obstruction of justice.

According to the former employee who spoke to the agents, Clemens was seen visiting Kelley's center in the past few years. Clemens, who lives about three miles from the center, introduced himself as a friend of Kelley and waited while Kelley finished talking with a client. Clemens then went into Kelley's office and remained there for about 20 minutes, the former employee said.

Kelley told The Times that Clemens was "an acquaintance," saying he met him "a couple" of times after initially saying they had met only once.

Kelley, in several Times interviews, denied being involved with performance-enhancing drugs. But the paper said he has advertised HGH on his Web site and acknowledged that he has taken HGH.

Kelley told the newspaper: "I have never seen Clemens in my store, ever. This is all totally false."

When asked by The Times about any Clemens connection to Kelley, Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin said he would not bring the matter to his client.

The question about any possible relationship is "despicable," Hardin told the paper. "You are on a witch hunt."

Kelley's business is located in an upscale shopping area in Houston's Memorial neighborhood that sells annual memberships for $15,000.

In other steroids-scandal news, The New York Daily News reported on Saturday that Novitzky has asked to interview former major leaguer Jose Canseco as part of his steroids probe.

Canseco's lawyer Robert Saunooke told the paper Canseco is happy to comply with the request.

"He's asked to meet with us and we've cooperated with the request," Saunooke said. "We'll get together whenever."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.