Clemens Files Suit

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NEW YORK - Roger Clemens beat Brian McNamee to court,
filing a defamation suit against the former trainer who claimed to
have injected him with performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens filed the suit Sunday night in Harris County District
Court in Texas, listing 15 alleged statements McNamee made to the
baseball drug investigator George Mitchell. Clemens claimed the
statement were "untrue and defamatory."
"According to McNamee, he originally made his allegations to
federal authorities after being threatened with criminal
prosecution if he didn't implicate Clemens," according to the
14-page petition, obtained early Monday by The Associated Press.
The suit, first reported by the Houston Chronicle, states that
when McNamee told others that when he first was interviewed by
federal law enforcement last June, he denied Clemens had used
steroids or human growth hormone. The suit quotes McNamee as saying
he was pressured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella and
IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky - key members of the BALCO
prosecution - to implicate Clemens. The suit did not attribute
where the quote from McNamee was obtained.
"After this exchange, and for the first time in his life,
McNamee stated that he had injected Clemens with steroids in 1998,
2000 and 2001," the suit said. "Following his recantation,
McNamee has relayed that he magically went from a `target' in a
federal criminal drug investigation to a mere `witness,' so long as
he continued to `toe the line."'
The suit said that when McNamee initially refused a request from
federal authorities that he speak to Mitchell, he was threatened
with prosecution. Clemens said McNamee decided only then to
cooperate with Mitchell and the suit said McNamee told other the
interview "was conducted like a Cold War-era interrogation in
which a federal agent merely read to the Mitchell investigators
McNamee's previously obtained statement and then asked McNamee to
confirm what he previously stated."
Clemens asked that damages be determined by a jury.
"Clemens' good reputation has been severely injured," the suit
said. "McNamee's false allegations have also caused Clemens to
suffer mental anguish, shame, public humiliation and
embarrassment."
McNamee's lawyers are likely to remove the case to U.S. District
Court in Houston, since Clemens and McNamee reside in different
states. McNamee also could ask that the suit be moved to federal
court in New York.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who was scheduled to hold
a late afternoon news conference Monday in Houston, sounded
indignant and defiant in a segment of CBS's "60 Minutes"
broadcast Sunday night, his first interview since McNamee accused
him. The two are approaching a potential confrontation if they
testify under oath at a Jan. 16 hearing on Capitol Hill.
The most prominent player implicated in last month's Mitchell
Report, Clemens steadfastly maintained his innocence and called
McNamee's allegations "totally false."
"If he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out
of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth," said
Clemens, who wore a lavender button-down shirt during the
interview, taped Dec. 28 at his home in Katy, Texas.
On Friday, when the House Committee on Oversight and Government
Reform invited Clemens and McNamee to testify, the pair spoke by
telephone, an individual close to the situation said, speaking on
condition of anonymity because public comments weren't authorized.
The conversation first was reported Sunday by Newsday.
The individual would not say what was discussed.
Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the Chronicle that it was
McNamee who arranged to talk to Clemens on Friday but instead of
getting back to Clemens the conversation was leaked "with spin"
to Newsday.
"We kept thinking McNamee might change his mind and come to his
senses and admit he was lying," Hardin told the Chronicle.
McNamee also had been contemplating a suit.
"We welcome a lawsuit. It makes our decision easy," Richard
Emery, one of McNamee's lawyers, said earlier Sunday. "If he sued
McNamee, it would make things very simple."
During the "60 Minutes" segment, Clemens said he might be
willing to take a lie-detector test and was "shocked" close
friend Andy Pettitte used HGH. He said - again - that he probably
will retire.
A fiery look in his eyes and stubble on his face, Clemens told
CBS's Mike Wallace that he would have spoken with Mitchell had he
been aware of McNamee's accusations.
"I thought it was an impassioned, disingenuous and desperate
plea," said Earl Ward, McNamee's primary lawyer.
One of the few revelations in the much-hyped interview came when
Clemens was asked whether he conceivably would take a lie detector
test.
"Yeah," he answered. "I don't know if they're good or bad."
After Monday's news conference will come the congressional
hearing. Pettitte, former Yankees teammate Chuck Knoblauch and
former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who allegedly
supplied McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs, also were asked
to appear before the committee.
Lawyers for Clemens and McNamee have said their clients are
willing to testify but Hardin wouldn't commit to the date.
Emery said he wanted to hear testimony from Clemens.
"If Congress calls him, he pretty much has to take the Fifth,
and if he takes the Fifth, nobody will ever believe him again and
all this effort has gone down the drain," Emery said. "And if he
doesn't take the Fifth, it's very hard to imagine that a prosecutor
isn't going to pursue this. So I think he's put himself in a
terrible corner."
Clemens said his lawyer advised him not to speak with Mitchell,
who spent 20 months on his investigation.
"If I would've known what this man, what Brian McNamee (had)
said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to
take care of it," Clemens said.
Only two active players, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas, spoke
with Mitchell, a Boston Red Sox director and a former Senate
majority leader.
In excerpts of the CBS interview that were released Thursday,
Clemens said McNamee injected him with vitamin B-12 and the
painkiller lidocaine. In the full 14-minute broadcast, Clemens also
said he was given an injection of toradol under the supervision of
the New York Yankees.
McNamee told Mitchell he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH
about 16 to 21 times during 1998, 2000 and 2001 - before baseball
players and owners agreed to ban performance-enhancing substances.
Eighth on the career list with 354 wins, the 45-year-old Clemens
said he was angered McNamee's accusations have been accepted as
truth by some.
"It's hogwash for people to even assume this," Clemens said.
"Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of
respect. An inch."
Clemens said the descriptions McNamee gave Mitchell of
injections "never happened."
"If I have these needles and these steroids and all these
drugs, where did I get 'em?" he said. "Where is the person out
there (who) gave 'em to me? Please, please come forward."