Yes, it's been awhile since we've had any news out of the Roger Clemens steroid matter. But lost amidst all of the election stories and news this week was a Monday hearing in Houston regarding Rocket's defamation lawsuit that he filed against Brian McNamee, the former trainer who claims to have supplied and injected Clemens with steroids and HGH.
Federal Judge Keith Ellison wanted to hear more arguments from attorneys for both sides on the matters of whether Clemens' suit should be dismissed, and if not dismissed, whether the suit was filed in the proper jurisdiction.
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The issue for dismissal comes from McNamee's attorneys claiming McNamee is immune from a defamation suit over these statements because they were made in the course of a federal investigation. McNamee's attorneys claim, rightly, that statements made as part of a federal investigation are protected from such suits. The issue, however, is whether McNamee's statements to George Mitchell as part of baseball's investigation into steroid usage are also protected.
Clemens' attorneys -- but not Rusty Hardin who was too busy to appear -- argue that statements to private individuals into private matters are not worthy of the governmental immunity. McNamee's attorneys countered -- with what I believe will ultimately be the winning argument -- that McNamee was compelled or ordered by the government to speak to Mitchell, and that if he did not, the agreement he made with the feds for immunity from prosecution would be withdrawn: "McNamee cooperated with Mitchell because that was deemed part of the agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office," McNamee's attorneys said.
But I'll be honest here. I don't think there's any way Clemens can win this suit, anyway. He's got to be able to prove that McNamee was lying. And he doesn't have that proof -- if he did that have that proof, we would have seen it already. And even if he could prove that, Clemens has to prove -- since he's a public figure -- that McNamee acted with malice.
And frankly, from the way the Feds were leaning on McNamee, I don't think it's possible to prove malice. But I've been wrong before, and I could be wrong again. – John Royal