Getting inside the Roger Clemens news conference
Posted: Tuesday January 8, 2008 12:24AM; Updated: Tuesday January 8, 2008 3:47PM
HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens' Monday news conference -- his first since the Mitchell Report revealed former trainer Brian McNamee's allegations that Clemens used steroids -- left reporters with as many questions as answers. Let's look at them.
The McNamee Quote
Much of the pre-news conference chatter among reporters focused on the defamation lawsuit that Clemens filed Sunday night against McNamee. In the suit, McNamee is quoted at length talking about his interview with federal investigators. McNamee says federal investigators told him he had "three strikes to go to jail" and they demanded information specifically regarding Clemens' use of steroids.
Clemens' suit uses the quote to suggest that McNamee was pressured by federal investigators to make untrue statements about Clemens, and goes on to say McNamee was pressured to reiterate the statements to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell for his report on steroids in baseball.
McNamee's attorney, Earl Ward, was present during his interviews with federal investigators and has said McNamee was not pressured or bullied.
Question Raised: Where did McNamee's long quote in the lawsuit come from?
Answer: Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, said that McNamee talked at length to two private investigators -- both former Houston police officers -- hired by his firm. McNamee told them about his interview with federal investigators and Mitchell and said that assistant U.S. attorney Matthew Parrella, who is working on the BALCO case, told him "we know [more] about you than you know about yourself. You're going to jail. Let's go back to when you first met Clemens in '98."
Question Raised: Why would McNamee talk to private investigators?
Answer: According to Hardin, eight days before the Mitchell Report was released, McNamee called Hendricks Sports Management, the baseball agency that represents Clemens and Andy Pettitte, looking to get in touch with the pitcher. According to Hardin, McNamee told a Hendricks representative that he had told Mitchell's investigators that Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone. "He said that he wanted to apologize to Roger and Andy," Hardin said. On the day before the Mitchell Report was released, McNamee agreed to talk with two private investigators from Hardin's office. According to Hardin, McNamee spoke with them cooperatively for hours, telling them about his interviews with federal and Mitchell Commission investigators.
Question Raised: Roger Clemens told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes that he was caught by surprise when his name appeared in the Mitchell Report and that had he known the allegations that would be made against him in the report he would have gone to Mitchell to refute them. If Clemens' legal team dispatched investigators to talk with McNamee before the report came out, doesn't that mean Clemens did know that he would be accused of using steroids and human growth hormone?
Answer: According to Hardin, it was not until the day before the report was released that Clemens learned what McNamee had told Mitchell, and there was no time to give Mitchell a reply. Hardin added that Clemens still did not know whether McNamee's statements would be included in the report until it came out.