As some of youmay recall
, I haven’t exactly been thrilled by Rusty Hardin’s legal maneuverings in this whole Roger Clemens matter. I was especially disgusted by the playing of the McNamee-Clemens phone conversation tape. Reasons for this anger were that the tape proved nothing, I thought it was a sleazy move that helped McNamee, and I thought it might end up hurting Rocket more than helping. And the attorney’s primary concern must be helping his client.
It hurt Rocket because it helped expose several lies, the primary being that Clemens had claimed that he’d received no warning from McNamee about what would be in the Mitchell Report, only to discover that McNamee had spoken several times with Rocket’s people and that he had told to them the same things he told George Mitchell.
Over the weekend, the fallout from that tape recording expanded, and Clemens’s reputation isn’t the only one being harmed. There’s also the reputation of Rusty Hardin as super attorney. Kind of a delayed karma, I guess.
One of the clichés we learn in law school is to never ask a question when you don’t know what the answer will be. This is expanded into: you never make a move without knowing all of the possible results of that move. For instance, it’s great if the glove fits O.J. Simpson, but what happens if it doesn’t? So if you’re not absolutely sure the glove will fit, don’t have him try it on in front of the jury.
What’s this got to do with anything? Well, pay attention. (And this news is courtesy of the New York Times. The only mention I’ve seen locally is in Richard Justice’s blog.)
At one point in the conversation, Clemens expresses concern about Kirk Radomski, a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant, who was the central figure of a Federal investigation into steroid and HGH distribution, and who is one of the central figures of the Mitchell Report.
In the tape, Clemens says, “I don’t know how many months ago it was, I asked you, you know, I didn’t know who this cat was in the New York Mets — this guy.” To which McNamee responded: “I told your guys, man. I told Murray, I told him his name. I told Murray.”
Murray is Jim Murray, an agent who works for the Hendricks brothers, the agents of Roger Clemens.
And to make it worse, moments later in the tape, McNamee says, “I met with Jimmy in ’04, and I told him. I said Jimmy, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up because you better have some information. I’d rather you be prepared than unprepared.” (Info about this 2004 meeting between McNamee and Murray can be found here, courtesy of the New York Daily News.)
The problem here is simple: supposedly, the only witnesses to Clemens’s alleged steroids/HGH use have been McNamee, Clemens and possibly Andy Pettitte. Now we’re hearing on this tape that McNamee is letting Clemens’s agents know of the steroids use and that he could be getting caught up in a Federal investigation. The good agent is going to investigate this because the agent’s job, besides getting as much cash as possible for his client, is to keep his client out of trouble.
So what super lawyer Rusty Hardin has done is give the Feds another name to bring in for questioning. It’s given them another source for records to subpoena, and it’s given another possible name out there to call Clemens a liar.
The question is: how much of this did Hardin really know? Did Hardin listen to that tape and ask questions to the Hendricks? Did he speak to Murray? Did Hardin do his proper due diligence and request every sheet of paper, every recording, every note, every e-mail regarding Clemens? It’s not always enough to go on the spoken word. You’ve got to look at the paper, at the records.
You shouldn’t have played that damn tape, Rusty. Not only did it make you sleazy, it’s now making you look unprepared.
But it’s the sleazy aspect that’s also hurting Rusty and Rocket this weekend. It’s hurting them because it’s pissed off their most important witness, Andy Pettitte.
Newsday is reporting (and why is it always the New York papers reporting this stuff? Don’t Rocket and Pettitte live in the Houston area?) that not only is the Clemens-Pettitte friendship over, it never existed. But that’s not all, according to Newsday:
“Andy Pettitte is said by friends to be upset with Roger Clemens because of Clemens' aggressive defense to the charges leveled against him in the Mitchell Report. Most of all, Pettitte didn't care for Clemens' public airing of his taped phone call with accuser Brian McNamee, which accomplished little.”
So what we now have is a non-existent friendship with one of the so-called friends pissed off at the other so-called friend. And it’s the pissed-off, so-called friend on whom the other’s depending for vindication.
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Nice work, Rusty. I hope Rocket paid you in advance. The thing is, if there’s a witness out there who you’re hoping can help you out, you don’t want to piss that witness off. I’m not saying that Pettitte would lie for Clemens, but it’s always possible for Pettitte to massage his testimony to where he wouldn’t implicate Clemens further while facing no Congressional reprimand – that’s where hiring Sammy Sosa’s lawyer is a big help. Instead, seeing how Rocket is throwing everyone under the bus and doing everything possible to destroy reputations, there is no enticement whatever for Pettitte to try and protect and Clemens.
Clemens now has a new attorney on his team. A very good attorney used to dealing with serious matters while under Congressional questioning. So the situation for Rocket is not hopeless. But he’s paying the price for his arrogance, and he’s now paying the price for Rusty Hardin’s arrogance and sloppiness.
I’m sure that wherever Anna Nicole Smith is right now, she’s laughing her ass off.
Oh, and if I were Jim Murray, I’d be looking in to getting a very, very good attorney. May I suggest Dick DeGuerin. If he can get Robert Durst off, he should be able work wonders for you. – John Royal