4 Famous People Convicted of Perjury

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Baseball fans got a mild surprise last week when news broke that former pitcher Roger Clemens was being indicted for perjury for allegedly lying during a 2008 Congressional hearing on performance-enhancing drug use. The Rocket is hardly the first celebrity to run into trouble for perjury, though. Take a look at these other famous folks who ran afoul of the law for perjuring themselves.

1. Lil' Kim

In 2001 rapper Lil' Kim witnessed a heated gunfight outside New York radio station Hot 97's studios. The shootout between Kim's entourage and the rival rap group Capone-N-Noreago included over two dozen shots fired. When a federal grand jury called Lil' Kim to testify about what she had seen during the firefight, she claimed not to have noticed her manager and another member of her entourage at the scene.

The false testimony might have worked if not for security camera footage that showed one of the men in question actually holding a door open for Kim. In 2005 she was convicted of three counts of perjury and one of conspiracy in connection to her fabricated testimony. She received a sentence of one year and a day in prison and a $5,000 fine. Lil' Kim ended up only serving 10 months of the sentence at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia before being released.

2. Marion Jones

Jones cemented her claim to being the world's fastest woman at the 2000 Olympics, but her fall from grace was nearly as quick as her time in the 100 meters. Jones' association with users and distributors of performance-enhancing drugs quickly began raising eyebrows among track enthusiasts, but she remained adamant that she had dominated the running world without any chemical help.

Unfortunately for Jones, she maintained this stance even when interviewed by federal agents, who were investigating the infamous BALCO steroids case. Big mistake. In the face of mounting evidence that she had used PEDs, Jones pleaded guilty to two charges of perjury in 2007 and admitted that she had used the designer steroid The Clear. As part of her plea bargain, Jones received a sentence of six months imprisonment and two years of probation.

3. Mark Fuhrman

Anyone who watched the O.J. Simpson murder trial remembers Mark Fuhrman, the LAPD detective who provided key testimony in the unsuccessful prosecution of the football star. One of the key sticking points in the trial was whether or not the detective had habitually used a variety of racial slurs with colleagues and suspects. Fuhrman vehemently denied these charges, but Simpson's defense team was able to turn up multiple witnesses and a tape of Fuhrman spewing hateful slurs.

Not only did Fuhrman's poor choice of words severely damage the prosecution's efforts, they got Fuhrman into some pretty hot water, too. Following the Simpson trial the state attorney general filed perjury charges against Fuhrman for his lying over the use of racial slurs throughout the trial. In 1996 Fuhrman entered a plea of no contest to the charges and received a sentence of three years probation and a $200 fine.

Although Fuhrman didn't spend time in prison, his status as a convicted felon meant he could no longer serve as a police officer. Oddly, his perjury conviction means that he is the only person to be convicted of a crime in connection with the infamous case.

4. Jeffrey Archer

Archer's name might not be too familiar to American readers, but he was quite a godsend for the British tabloids throughout the 80s and 90s. Archer, a longtime Member of Parliament, developed quite a successful side career as a novelist; his 1979 book Kane and Abel even reached the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

Throughout the early 1980s, Archer rose through the Conservative Party hierarchy, but his political career came to a screeching halt in 1986 when News of the World published a story detailing how Archer had paid a prostitute £2,000 to go abroad. Rival paper the Daily Star explained that the payment stemmed from Archer's former paid relationship with the prostitute in question. Archer in turn sued the Daily Star for libel and explained that he was simply being philanthropic by helping out a down-on-her-luck prostitute with some travel funding. The story sounded odd, but nevertheless Archer won the case and a £500,000 award.

Archer came out of the libel trial relatively unscathed politically, but when he received the nod to be the Conservative candidate in the 2000 London mayoral election, News of the World published a story about how Archer had perjured himself in the 1987 trial. Former friends who had supported Archer's version of events at the earlier trial changed their stories, and he was eventually found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice in 2001. Thus, the political bigwig and bestselling author spent two full years in an English jail.

August 26, 2010 - 7:40am
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