NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens argued in court filings Wednesday that a congressional committee and law firm that investigated performance-enhancing drugs in baseball have no right to withhold evidence from his upcoming criminal trial.
Clemens filed arguments asking U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to require the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the DLA Piper law firm that produced the so-called Mitchell Report on drugs to turn over their evidence that Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone, presumably to look for weaknesses or inconsistencies that could aid his defense. Both parties are fighting the baseball star’s subpoenas.
“This case may be about a baseball player, but that is no reason for DLA Piper to treat it like a game,” Clemens’ attorneys wrote in one filing. They filed separate paperwork arguing that the House committee is “seeking to elevate itself above the law” by withholding evidence that is highly relevant to the case.
Walton has scheduled an April 21 hearing for arguments over the subpoenas. Walton predicted that the dispute could end up in the federal appeals court, but he hoped it wouldn’t further delay the trial that was already pushed back three months to July so Clemens’ legal team can review voluminous evidence already turned over by prosecutors.
In 2006, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig hired former Sen. George Mitchell and the DLA Piper firm he worked for at the time to investigate allegations that players used drugs. The Mitchell Report, issued on Dec. 13, 2007, accused several players, including Clemens.
The House committee held hearings on the report in February 2008. Clemens testified that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during 23 seasons, in which he recorded 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts and won seven Cy Young awards. Prosecutors say evidence proves that he did use drugs and they charged him with perjury, false statement and obstruction of Congress.
Clemens wants DLA Piper to turn over material related to its interviews with his longtime personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who told investigators he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs; admitted steroid user and retired player Jose Canseco, and former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who McNamee said provided the drugs Clemens used.
Clemens’ subpoena to the committee covers its communications with those three men and 17 other people, including retired baseball players Chuck Knoblauch, C.J. Nitkowski and Andy Pettitte and staff from the four teams Clemens played for — the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees and Houston Astros.
The committee said its evidence is protected by the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. Clemens responded that the committee’s position “offends” the constitutional protection not meant to be “a limitless privilege that trumps the due process rights of a criminal defendant.” He also argued the hearing he testified at was not legitimate legislative activity that deserves protection since it didn’t relate to any legislation.
The law firm said most of its material that Clemens is seeking is covered by attorney-client privilege. Clemens responded that the privilege doesn’t apply to DLA Piper since it wasn’t representing any client but producing an investigation that was always meant for public disclosure. His attorneys questioned DLA Piper’s motives in withholding information from him, saying the firm has “a vested interest in Mr. Clemens begin convicted so that its deeply flawed report is not further criticized.”
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