WASHINGTON - Miguel Tejada is under FBI scrutiny, officials said yesterday after opening a preliminary investigation into whether the former American League MVP lied when he told federal authorities he never took steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
The inquiry, in response to a congressional request, amounts to an initial look at facts surrounding the case. It does not mean charges will be brought against the Houston Astros shortstop.
"The Justice Department has referred the Miguel Tejada matter to the FBI, and a preliminary inquiry will be conducted," FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said.
Investigators with the FBI's field office in Washington will handle the inquiry. It is unclear how long initial fact-finding will take.
"I don't have any comment," said Tejada's lawyer, Mark Tuohey, who said he was unaware of the FBI's involvement until contacted by the Associated Press.
At issue are comments Tejada gave to House committee investigators in August 2005 when he was with the Baltimore Orioles. He denied during the interview that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs or knew of other players using or discussing steroids.
Tejada was named in a lengthy report by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, released last month, that looked at drug use in baseball.
The Astros had no comment on news that the FBI is now investigating Tejada.
Tejada was in the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his brother, who died Tuesday in a motorcycle accident there.
"It's important we determine whether Mr. Tejada misled an investigative committee of the House of Representatives," said Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Committee.