Pettitte Will Discuss Clemens, Lawyers Say
By DUFF WILSON and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
WASHINGTON —Andy Pettitte will soon give a sworn deposition to staff members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and lawyers for his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, say they believe they know part of what he will say.
Pettitte and McNamee talked in 2001 and 2002 about Roger Clemens’s use of steroids and human growth hormone, McNamee’s lawyers, Earl Ward and Richard Emery, said Tuesday.
As a result, Ward and Emery said they believed that Pettitte, who has acknowledged receiving H.G.H. from McNamee in 2002, will provide the first account of contemporaneous conversations with McNamee about Clemens’s use of performance-enhancing drugs in earlier years.
Clemens’s lawyer in Washington responded Tuesday with another strong denial that Clemens had ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Regardless of what Mr. McNamee purports to have said, Roger Clemens’s remarkable success as a pitcher has everything to do with his extraordinary work ethic and his innate abilities, and nothing to do with H.G.H. or steroids,” the lawyer, Lanny A. Breuer, said in a telephone interview.
“Let me be clear: Roger Clemens never took H.G.H. and he never took steroids,” he added.
Pettitte’s deposition, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was moved to Monday, a day before Clemens is scheduled to talk to committee staff members, the committee announced Tuesday.
“Mr. Pettitte is cooperating voluntarily with the committee, and we look forward to his testimony on Monday,” Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is the committee chairman, and Tom Davis of Virginia, the ranking Republican, said in a statement. Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Waxman, said she could give no reason for the delay. Pettitte’s lawyers did not return calls for comment.
According to a lawyer familiar with the matter, an agent for Clemens, Jim Murray, has hired a lawyer and has been asked to meet with Congressional investigators in Washington about his conversations with McNamee concerning Clemens in 2003 or 2004, and more recently on Dec. 5, 2007. Murray did not return a telephone message seeking comment.
Chuck Knoblauch, the former Yankees second baseman, is scheduled to lead off the revised schedule for depositions or transcribed interviews. He will speak to committee staff members Friday. Pettitte will follow on Monday, Clemens on Tuesday, McNamee on Feb. 7 and Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant who says he supplied drugs to dozens of major league baseball players, on Feb. 12. The depositions are private.
The committee has scheduled a Feb. 13 public hearing to receive testimony under oath from those five men.
The staff investigation is focused on Clemens’s denials of taking steroids or H.G.H. Waxman has said the panel is relying on the report on drugs in baseball by George J. Mitchell to set the stage for tougher drug testing policies in Major League Baseball. Clemens is under scrutiny because he challenged the report.
McNamee has spoken with federal investigators on the condition that he would be prosecuted only if he did not tell the truth.
In describing H.G.H. injections, McNamee told those investigators and Mitchell that he injected Clemens at least four times in the latter part of the summer of 2000, injected Knoblauch at least seven to nine times in the spring and early summer of 2001, and injected Pettitte at least two to four times in the spring of 2002.
McNamee also said he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001. He did not say he injected Pettitte or Knoblauch with steroids.
Since the players never talked with Mitchell, the Congressional depositions or interviews will be the first questioning they face outside their lawyers’ offices or, in Clemens’s case, the CBS program “60 Minutes” on Jan. 6. The stakes are higher now. False statements to Congressional investigators could result in criminal charges punishable by up to five years in prison.
“Pettitte is a stand-up guy,” said Emery, one of McNamee’s lawyers. “We expect him to tell the truth, and if he does so, he will corroborate Brian.”
Emery suggested that the reason for the delay in giving the depositions was to give Clemens more time to change his account, a suggestion rejected by Clemens’s lawyer.
Emery and Ward said that not only did McNamee and Pettitte talk about Clemens’s drug use on several occasions, but that Clemens might have influenced Pettitte the first time Pettitte asked to use a performance-enhancing drug.
“There was a conversation in the gym where Pettitte came over to Brian and told him, ‘Why didn’t you tell me about that stuff?’ ” Emery said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It appeared to be after a conversation with Clemens, but he didn’t know what was said in that conversation.”
Ward, in a separate telephone interview, said, “Brian discouraged him at first, and then less than a year later he came back and that is when Brian injected him.”
McNamee had told Mitchell he injected Pettitte in the spring of 2002 to help speed his recovery from elbow tendinitis.
Michael S. Schmidt reported from New York.