Major League Baseball star player Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles will not be charged with lying to Congress. Lawmakers said Thursday that there was not enough evidence against him. The Orioles' slugger still has a fight on his hands to regain any credibility.
The House of Representatives Government Reform Committee said there was insufficient evidence to bring perjury charges, and it would not refer Palmeiro's case to the Justice Department.
In March, Palmeiro told the committee in sworn testimony that he had never used steroids. However, in May, he failed a Major League Baseball drug test, coming up positive for the anabolic steroid stanazolol. Under baseball's drug policy, he was suspended for 10 days.
Committee chairman Tom Davis, a Republican from Virginia, said that while the investigation could not prove Palmeiro lied to Congress, it could not exonerate him either. "One month, he [Palmeiro] is up here saying he has never taken them [steroids]. He tests positive three months later. We felt that was a serious enough inconsistency. It doesn't mean that the inconsistencies can be explained, but, in our opinion, it does not meet the level for perjury," he said.
Palmeiro issued his first detailed public comments on the case Wednesday, saying that the positive test might have come from a tainted vitamin shot given to him by a teammate. However, Congressman Davis said investigators had tested other similar vitamin shots, and had found no steroids in any of the samples.
Palmeiro, 41, has 3,020 hits and 569 home runs in his 19-year career, and said he has not ruled out returning to baseball. But his actions could be a problem when he is eligible for baseball's Hall of Fame.