WASHINGTON - Congress wants to be prepared when Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, head to Capitol Hill.
The House hearing involving Clemens, McNamee, and Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte was postponed yesterday from next Wednesday until Feb. 13, giving lawmakers time to gather evidence, take depositions from witnesses, and coordinate their investigation with the Justice Department.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was to begin meeting with lawyers for the witnesses today. Clemens's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said he hopes to meet with committee staffers next week. In addition, McNamee is to meet with federal prosecutors today in New York.
"The federal government looking at Roger is fine with me," Hardin said.
Plans are still in place for Tuesday's hearing before the same committee about the Mitchell Report. The witnesses that day will be commissioner Bud Selig, union leader Donald Fehr, and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, the report's author.
Questioned by federal prosecutors last year, McNamee said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000, and 2001. Prosecutors had him repeat those charges to Mitchell, and since the report was issued last month, Clemens has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations.
A lawyer for McNamee said yesterday his client wants immunity from the House committee. Hardin said Clemens will not request immunity.
Last week, Congress asked Clemens, teammate and friend Pettitte, and their ex-trainer, McNamee, to testify under oath. Also invited were former Yankees player Chuck Knoblauch and former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who was one of the main sources of evidence for the Mitchell Report.
Radomski pleaded guilty in April to federal felony charges of distributing steroids and laundering money. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.
"The Justice Department told the committee it would be helpful if we waited until after Radomski is sentenced," the committee's minority staff director, David Marin, wrote in an e-mail. "This also gives us more time to delve into more recent developments, gather more information, and depose all witnesses before they testify in public."
Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit Sunday against McNamee. Also Sunday, Clemens said on "60 Minutes" McNamee injected him only with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine. The pitcher then held a news conference Monday, and said, "I'm going to Congress, and I'm going to tell the truth," and played a recording of a 17-minute telephone conversation with McNamee that Clemens's side secretly taped.
McNamee's attorneys have urged the committee to obtain a recording of a conversation between his client and investigators who work for Clemens's law firm. That meeting took place Dec. 12, a day before the Mitchell Report was released.
Pettitte acknowledged McNamee injected him twice with HGH. Radomski is alleged to have supplied McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs.
McNamee reached an agreement in which he would not be prosecuted as long as he was truthful in what he told federal investigators and Mitchell. His lawyers will seek a similar agreement with the committee, McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, said.