May 13, 2009 / 12:09 AM / 11 years ago

Attorney general out of Clemens steroids probe

The jacket cover of the new book "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens And The Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime" is seen in this undated handout photo released by Knopf Doubleday May 12, 2009. REUTERS/Knopf Doubleday/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has removed himself from the criminal probe into whether baseball pitching great Roger Clemens lied to Congress about steroids, a Justice Department spokesman said on Thursday.

The FBI began the investigation more than a year ago after Clemens denied in testimony before a congressional committee that he used performance-enhancing steroids. His former trainer testified Clemens had used steroids and human growth hormone.

Department spokesman Matt Miller said Holder was recused because he previously worked at Covington and Burling, a law firm that had represented Clemens.

Another attorney at the firm, Lanny Breuer, also is expected to recuse himself from the Clemens investigation following the Senate’s likely approval of his nomination to run the Justice Department’s criminal division.

Breuer helped represent Clemens, 47, who won a record seven Cy Young Award pitching titles during his career, at the congressional hearings on steroids.

A federal grand jury in Washington has been hearing evidence in the Clemens investigation, which is being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office and the local FBI office, sources have said. It is not known how long the investigation will last or whether charges will be brought against Clemens.

Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Paul Simao

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