Yesterday the Astros shortstop pled guilty in a Washington, D.C. federal court to a misdemeanor charge of lying to congressional staffers in 2005. Mr. Tejada faces up to one year in jail when he returns for sentencing on April 26, 2009.
While Congress has the power to conduct hearings and to subpoena witnesses to appear at those hearings, Congress cannot compel anyone to testify. Any person subpoenaed to appear before Congress can refuse to answer questions thanks to our Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. For whatever reason, Mr. Tejada decided to answer questions and he decided to answer them falsely.
Had he refused to answer questions he may have looked bad in the public eye, but he would not have faced charges of giving false testimony and he would not be walking around today as a convicted criminal.