The verdict comes six months after Barry Bonds got two years of probation and 30 days of house arrest for obstruction of justice in a federal steroids-related case and days after federal prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, less than two weeks after his corruption trial ended in an acquittal and mistrial.
"It was not a great case, but this is a real blow to the Justice Department," Toobin said of prosecutors' case against Clemens.
Known as "The Rocket," Clemens was among the most accomplished pitchers of his generation, earning seven Cy Young awards as his league's best pitcher and 11 All-Star appearances before retiring in 2007. He was known for his blazing fastball -- his 4,672 strikeouts are the third most of any Major League pitcher -- as well as his excellence over all stages of his 24-year career.
But the Texas native made news for a different reason in 2007, when he was among a number of baseball stars -- along with others including Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi -- in an investigation by Major League Baseball into the illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs. That investigation was led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.
Yet despite being accused by his longtime former trainer, Clemens has consistently and strongly denied using steroids. That includes comments he made during the 2008 congressional hearing delving into the Mitchell Report and later in reaction to his six-count indictment.
Hardin, the now-49-year-old pitcher's lawyer, bemoaned how people labeled his client arrogant because he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. He insisted Monday that Clemens -- who will become eligible for entry into baseball's hall of fame next year -- "from (age) 16 to 45 was the same person."
"I hope those in the public that made up their mind (about Clemens' steroid use) before there was a trial will now back up and entertain the possibility of what he's always said: Using steroids and HGH is cheating, and is totally contrary to his entire career," said Hardin.