The lead lawyer for Roger Clemens' defense said on Friday that he may recommend that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner drop his defamation law suit against Brian McNamee, his former trainer. "He's getting pummeled," attorney Rusty Hardin told the Associated Press about his client. Clemens filed the civil suit in January after McNamee was quoted in the Mitchell Report that he injected the right-hander on numerous occasions over the course of four years with steroids and human growth hormone.
Clemens is also under investigation by the FBI and IRS for possibly lying in front of a Congressional Committee on Feb. 13 about his use of the drugs. This past week, Clemens has faced a wave of adverse publicity as the New York Daily News has printed accusations of numerous affairs he had with women during his playing days. Hardin, who is involved in a trial in Las Vegas, told the AP that there was no change in plans at the moment, but that he intended to speak with Clemens about whether he wanted to continue the defamation suit. "That's always a decision the client has to make. That's not the lawyer's decision," Hardin said. "I've never seen somebody get beat up like this. In some ways, I think we're on uncharted ground." Richard Emery, one of McNamee's lawyers, was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if the law suit is dropped. "It's much too rational a move for them to make," he said. "Everything about the way they've handled this case is irrational, so I wouldn't expect them to act rationally now." Clemens has little wiggle room legally anyway because he must prove that McNamee was lying with malice for a jury to find that he was defamed. When Clemens ended last season in his second tour with the Yankees, he was the top active pitcher with 354 wins and second on the all-time list with 4,672 strikeouts. In the report that former Sen. George Mitchell released this past Dec. 13 analyzing the long-term use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Clemens was one of the most prominent of the 90 players named for their use or association with those drugs during the last decade. Clemens has vociferously denied the allegations, saying that he had been injected with lidocaine and vitamin B-12. Lidocaine, though, is a numbing agent that's used mostly as an anesthetic in surgical procedures. Clemens and McNamee testified before the Congressional committee in private and then in public. After the hearing, the matter was referred to the U.S. Dept. of Justice for a determination of whether Clemens had committed perjury. Under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco, McNamee disclosed information to the feds about Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Jason Grimsley and Chuck Knoblauch. He also provided the same information to Mitchell. Thus, McNamee could only lose by lying to the feds, who sat in on his three interviews with Mitchell and was advised "that he could face criminal charges if he made any false statements during these interviews, which were deemed by the prosecutors to be subject to his written agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office," Mitchell said in his report. Mitchell subsequently told a Congressional committee in January that he believed McNamee was being truthful, regarding his statements about Clemens. That committee then declined to refer McNamee for investigation at the same time it referred Clemens.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.