Tejada expected to plead guilty

Updated: February 11, 2009, 11:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada arrived at court Wednesday to answer charges of lying to Congress, the latest athlete to face criminal prosecutors over the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs in pro sports.

Tejada, 34, is expected to plead guilty. He entered the courthouse through a side entrance, away from television cameras. Guards asked Tejada for identification and the player showed a California driver's license.

The charges against the five-time All-Star were outlined in documents filed Tuesday in Washington federal court. The court documents indicate that a plea agreement has been reached with Tejada, who won the 2002 American League Most Valuable Player award while playing for the Oakland Athletics.

Tejada attorney, William Lawler, said outside the courtroom that neither the player nor his attorneys would comment in Washington. Tejada planned to hold a news conference in Houston later in the day.

The papers were filed a day after New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez acknowledged past use of performance-enhancing drugs. No charges have been filed against Rodriguez.

The FBI also is investigating whether pitcher Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, lied to Congress last year when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone.

Clemens and Rodriguez top a list of drug-tainted stars that includes Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, whose actions cast doubt on their on-field accomplishments.

Tejada faces as much as a year in jail if convicted on the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress. Under federal guidelines, he would probably receive a lighter sentence.

The charge came in a legal document called a "criminal information," which can be filed only with the defendant's consent and typically signals an agreement to plead guilty.

In the court papers, Tejada is charged with lying to investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2005. Congressional staffers did not place Tejada under oath when they questioned him, but court documents say the investigators advised him "of the importance of providing truthful answers."

[+] EnlargeMiguel Tejada
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisFive-time All-Star Miguel Tejada was in Washington to answer a misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress.

Tejada "unlawfully withheld pertinent information from the committee because defendant Tejada, before and during his interview with the committee staff, then and there well knew that player #1, one of his teammates on the Oakland Athletics, had used steroids and HGH," the papers state.

During the interview, Tejada denied knowledge of an ex-teammate's use of performance-enhancing drugs, though officials say Tejada bought what he believed to be human growth hormone from the player.

The court papers, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham, charge that during spring training in 2003, Tejada had purchased a substance believed to be HGH from the player, giving him payments of $3,100 and $3,200.

In the Mitchell report, which examined steroid use in baseball, Oakland outfielder Adam Piatt is cited saying he discussed steroid use with Tejada and provided Tejada with testosterone and human growth hormone.

Tejada came under scrutiny after another ex-teammate, former Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, testified before the House committee and declared that he'd never used steroids.

Palmeiro was suspended by baseball later that year after testing positive for steroids. He said the positive result must have been caused by a B-12 vitamin injection given to him by Tejada.

Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse attendant who was a key source for the Mitchell report, was asked about Tejada in addition to Clemens when he appeared before a federal grand jury last month.

"I'm not going to go into detail because it is grand jury testimony, but basically they went over what was in the Mitchell report [about Tejada]," Radomski told ESPN.com's Mike Fish on Tuesday. "They asked me how I know he got the stuff. How I gave it to Adam Piatt and how Adam Piatt had told me he gave it to Tejada."

Piatt did not know whether Tejada used the HGH, according to the document. Radomski said he doesn't know, either. Because of the quantities purchased by individual players, Radomski said he occasionally suspected them of sharing the drugs with others, but that he rarely asked questions.

He found out "by accident" about Tejada.

"When I sent it to Adam, I told him how much it was," Radomski told ESPN in an earlier interview. "He said, 'Give me a couple days. Once I get the check from Miguel, I will send you a check.' So I said, 'It is for Miguel? He said, 'Yeah, it's for Miguel.'

"So I got the check and about two or three weeks later, when I talked to Adam again, he said, 'Miguel thanks you.' I said, 'OK.' That was the whole conversation I had. I never brought it up again."

Information from ESPN.com's Mike Fish and The Associated Press is included in this report