Has Roger Clemens met someone he can't intimidate? Clemens, through his lawyer Rusty Hardin, appears to be backing away from a Congressional deposition. The New York Daily News says why:
Any attempt by Roger Clemens' lawyer to use the defamation suit the pitcher filed against his former trainer to keep Clemens from being deposed by congressional investigators is a "smokescreen," according to Richard Emery, the lawyer for Brian McNamee...
According to a report on ESPN.com, sources close to Hardin said the lawyer has said the deposition might interfere with the defamation lawsuit Clemens filed last Sunday against McNamee.
"Hardin's frivolous defamation claim can be no basis to protect Roger from testifying," said Emery, a libel specialist. "He initiated it and I can't believe Congress would or could be manipulated by that action. ... If he's backing away now on that basis, it's a smokescreen."
Why would Clemens back down?
"This backtracking by Hardin is indicative of him getting cold feet. Roger will never testify," said Emery (McNamee's lawyer).
A deposition allows staff lawyers for the committee time to push witnesses on points in ways congressmen often don't. Any inconsistencies between the deposition and later testimony during a hearing could be exposed.
There it is. Staff lawyers in a deposition could rough up Clemens more than congressmen in a televised hearing. Clemens may still be compelled to testify if he is subpoenaed by Congress. No broken bats allowed.
(We address the immunity issue after the jump)
In the public relations fight, immunity is now an issue. Clemens's lawyer, Hardin, apprears to be losing in that battle too.
Hardin attacked McNamee's pursuit of congressional immunity to back up the immunity he already has from federal prosecutors in the Northern District of California for his testimony that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone and Andy Pettitte with HGH, while also admitting to distributing steroids.
"He's asking for immunity because he's guilty," Hardin told ESPN, then compared McNamee's request for congressional immunity to one Clemens conceivably might make. "Look at the potential unfairness here. Roger, if he asked for immunity - and he's not going to - if he asked for immunity, everybody would say, 'That means he has something to hide.' And yet the guy making the accusations is asking for immunity and nobody's questioning that. Is there something wrong with this picture?"
Emery, however, says he is merely concerned that his client might be prosecuted by another jurisdiction for steroid distribution.
"I'm less concerned about federal prosecutors than local prosecutors, but Brian has to be protected from both," Emery said. "The immunity only forecloses prosecution based on the words spoken to the prosecutors in the interviews as long as they are truthful. To be safe, I think we need congressional immunity for the words spoken to Congress on the same basis only.
"Of course no one gets immunity for perjury or lying to a federal official when they cooperate or during an investigation. And, of course, Brian is not seeking any immunity from anyone for either of these two latter offenses. That's why Hardin's spin is garbage - that somehow Brian's request for immunity can be compared to Roger's not asking. Roger has no exposure until he lies under oath, and then immunity will do him no good."
Like the Eagle's song says 'Oh what a tangled web we leave..."