But what gets me a bit annoyed is how starstruck our elected officials are of athletes. They go positively apeshit for these guys. And can someone explain to me why Roger Clemens is allowed to lobby members of Congress for two days last week? Isn't that like hanging out with the judge and jury for two fun-filled days before a trial begins? I suppose it is no worse than this though.
If you haven't been following this Roger Clemens saga, I'll catch you up.
Clemens, best pitcher of his generation.
Clemens, accused by his former trainer, Brian McNamee of using steroids and human growth hormone. McNamee had to come clean or face jail time.
McNamee didn't really want to screw Clemens. He loves him.
McNamee called Clemens after the shit hit the fan. Clemens on the advice of his squirrelly lawyer recorded the conversation and played it at a press conference a few days later. The call proved nothing other than that Clemens is a big douchebag. McNamee's lawyer said that the war was on.
McNamee released bloody syringes supposedly chockful of steroids and HGH and gauze to investigators after the call was played at the press conference. Clemens and his lawyer, Rusty Hardin cried foul.
I love the fact that he stored some of this stuff in a beer can!
Both McNamee and Clemens will testify in front of a Congressional committee this week. They both answered questions behind closed doors last week.
What follows are some of my favorite bits from the New York Times of the past few days of craziness. I love it! I wouldn't be opposed to this going on for months and months. I can't get enough.
The so-called evidence, the lawyers Rusty Hardin and Lanny Breuer said, was manufactured by an unstable accuser with a vendetta against Clemens, who once treated him like a member of the family.
“In the cheapest, most mean-spirited stunt, he has made up a bunch of evidence,” Breuer said.
Hardin said of McNamee, “This was a man who wanted to shake Roger down.”
“It was a great day,” Clemens said. “I got a lot of walking in. I learned a lot about the bowels of the buildings I was in and out of. It was great. I had a lot of great meetings and I look forward to Wednesday next week. See y’all then.”
What a joke! But at least Roger got a lot of good walking in!
Check out the starstruck fans!
“Just sort of a gosh-darn kind of guy,” Brian P. Bilbray, Republican of California, said in a telephone interview after he and three other members of the committee took part in a meeting with Clemens that lasted about 30 minutes. “Just the kind of guy you’d probably want to have as a next-door neighbor, I guess, if he didn’t hit a baseball through your window.”
Clemens “just wants to protect his reputation,” Bilbray added, saying that Clemens had told him he would not cast stones at anybody else.
But his lawyers did. They unleashed a ferocious attack on McNamee and the physical evidence — used vials, syringes and gauze pads said to contain traces of both Clemens’s blood and performance-enhancing drugs — that McNamee’s lawyers said he kept in his basement for six to seven years and never initially mentioned to criminal investigators or to Mitchell.
Hardin also said that saving the items all these years, as McNamee’s lawyers contend their client did, was “a psycho thing” to do.
At their own news conference, McNamee’s lawyers said McNamee saved the items because his instincts told him that Clemens, his friend and patron, might someday turn against him.
“He is a New York City cop,” McNamee's lawyer Richard Emery said, referring to his client's three years on the police force in the early 1990s. “He thinks in terms of evidence. He had a sense that Roger was not trustworthy.”
Not only that, but he refuses to carry his own luggage!
“I’m just getting a chance to visit; it’s been great,” Clemens said after meeting John Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts.
Judicial nominees and cabinet nominees under review by Congress often conduct private meetings with committee members, but seeing a sports star like Clemens do the same thing was somewhat startling. McNamee’s lawyers described it as inappropriate lobbying. Clemens’s lawyers defended the activity.
“Because the perception out there was so strong originally that he did it and was lying, he’s going to extra steps to try and persuade and make people comfortable with the fact that he didn’t do it,” Hardin said.
“I think in light of someone who’s crazy enough to say he kept syringes for nine years, this whole thing is pretty unusual,” Hardin added.
I love that the man brings possibly very real evidence to the table but is being portrayed as a lunatic.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat of California and the chairman of the committee, and Tom Davis, a Republican of Virginia and a former chairman, met together with Clemens.
Afterward, Davis described Clemens’s demeanor as “solid.” Asked whether anyone would be referred for a possible perjury prosecution if they told contradictory statements, Davis said: “I don’t know. Who knows what’s going to happen? That’s why we have hearings.”
Oh, really? It seems like everyone has already made up their minds. Clemens is innocent by golly!
Roger Clemens met privately with seven more members of Congress on Friday, completing a two-day sweep of nearly half of the members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform who will hear his sworn testimony Wednesday.
One of the congressmen, Edolphus Towns, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, gave the most complete account yet of what Clemens has been saying in the closed-door meetings. Towns said he came away believing that it was Clemens’s accuser, Brian McNamee, who might ultimately be charged with perjury.
The good tidings did not stop there. Denise Mixon, Towns’s deputy chief of staff, happily had her picture taken with one of the most decorated pitchers in baseball history, with Clemens placing his arm over her shoulder and flashing a big smile.
It was one of a number of souvenir moments involving Clemens in the last two days, although a Clemens spokesman said he did not know if any of the 19 members of Congress with whom Clemens had met had actually asked for an autograph.
But for Clemens and his lawyers, there was still plenty of turbulence in the Capitol. Information emerged that McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer, had stated in a sworn deposition Thursday that he not only injected Clemens with steroids and human-growth hormone but had also injected Clemens’s wife, Debbie, with H.G.H., at Clemens’s request.
In the deposition, which was made behind closed doors with lawyers for the committee, McNamee said he injected Debbie Clemens with H.G.H. in late 2002 or early 2003, a person with knowledge of the matter, insisting on anonymity, told reporters. McNamee had previously told federal investigators the same thing, the person said.
Clemens’s camp reacted angrily to the public disclosure without specifically denying it. “This shows what kind of person we’re dealing with,” Clemens’s lawyer Rusty Hardin said.
Of course they didn't deny it. Because then Debbie might have to perjure herself in front of Congress too!
As all this was gradually occurring, Towns, the Brooklyn congressman, was speaking in positive terms about Clemens, saying his half-hour personal visit made him a believer in Clemens’s character. But Towns said he did not feel that way about McNamee; he said he found his story of holding onto used syringes and swabs for seven years to be “weird.”
“Doesn’t that seem a little strange?” Towns said. “This is a really weird one. This one is interesting, man. I have been in this business for a long time.”
Towns said when he asked Clemens and his lawyers about McNamee, they attacked McNamee’s credibility. They said he had lost his job with the New York Police Department because of “a questionable situation with a criminal person”; lied in a 2001 date rape case; and was “money hungry,” Towns said.
The police department has not said that McNamee was fired, and he was not charged in the 2001 case.
Character assassination is always entertaining.
I'm surprised that Clemens didn't give each member of Congress an autographed version of the chair emblazoned with the word Rocket that Mike Wallace sat in during that embarrassing 60 Minutes interview.
Towns was hardly the only member of the committee to speak about Clemens in friendly terms the last two days, which would seem to affirm the decision of his lawyers to have him meet with as many committee members as possible.
McNamee’s lawyers said Clemens was inappropriately lobbying members of Congress. But Hardin, Clemens’s lawyer, described the two days of meetings as “fun” and “social.”
“It is a heck of an Americana experience,” Hardin said in a phone interview Friday evening. “When you get to go through and see all the representatives and how diverse and passionate they are, you feel better about the whole process.”
“The Congress people were very responsive,” he added.
Of course they were, they got autographs! A heck of an American experience! What a joke this whole thing is. Aren't there any more countries we could be invading instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on this?
Hardin badmouths the IRS agent Jeff Novitzky who's main mission in life over the past few years has seemingly been to take down cheatin' athletes.
“You know what? He does not have a sacred mission from God to mess up everybody’s life. So I will be delighted to meet him and let him hear from Roger. He’s never attempted to hear from Roger. He’s never contacted us. So he can sit there at the same time and we’d be delighted to hear from him, but it sure does send a message.”
Hardin added, “I can tell you this: If he ever messes with Roger, Roger will eat his lunch.”
Where does he come up with these gems? Roger will eat his lunch?
Speaking of Novitzky, has anyone else noticed that this is the only picture ever published of the guy and he's completely out of focus?
I can't wait for Wednesday!
Uh-oh. Now Rusty Hardin has done it!
The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform criticized one of Roger Clemens’s lawyers Sunday for remarks he had made about a federal agent’s plan to attend a committee hearing Wednesday.
The lawyer, Rusty Hardin, fired back Sunday night with a letter accusing the agent, Jeff Novitzky, of having tried to intimidate witnesses.
Hardin told The New York Times on Saturday that plans by Novitzky, a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service who has been leading a steroids investigation, to attend the oversight committee’s hearing while Clemens testified Wednesday were “unbelievable” and “brazen.” He had added, “I can tell you this: If he ever messes with Roger, Roger will eat his lunch.”
In a letter to Hardin, the committee chairman, Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, said his remarks could be interpreted as “an attempt to intimidate a federal law enforcement official in the performance of his official duties.” Waxman asked Hardin to clarify his remarks as soon as possible.
Hardin responded to Waxman late Sunday night with a letter saying he regretted the “eat his lunch” remark but that it was Novitzky, not him, who had been trying to intimidate people.
“My expressed concern about the reasons for Agent Novitzky attending the hearings of your committee on Wednesday was based on my belief that his conduct throughout this investigation has been intended to chill Roger Clemens’s attempts to publicly defend his reputation,” Hardin said, without being more specific.
He added, “It has been reported to me that in the weeks leading up to your hearings Agent Novitzky has engaged in conduct that could reasonably be perceived as witness intimidation.”
Hardin also wrote to Waxman, “I no more intended to intimidate Agent Novitzky than you intended to intimidate me by publicly releasing a letter chiding me for my conduct as my client prepares to appear before your committee.”In his letter to Hardin, released by the committee Sunday, Waxman said that some previous remarks by Hardin, and by McNamee’s lawyers, “struck me as inadvisable, but I have refrained from making any comment.”
Waxman continued: “If today’s quotation is accurate, however, it goes beyond any personal enmity that exists between Roger Clemens and Mr. McNamee. I do not know your intent in making this statement, but under one interpretation it can be seen as an attempt to intimidate a federal law enforcement official in the performance of his official duties.”
In the letter, which is a little more than a page long, Waxman said he had never met with or spoken with Novitzky. “As an independent branch of government, our inquiry operates independently of the executive branch,” he said.
“And as a witness in our independent investigation, it is not your client’s prerogative to dictate who attends or does not attend the hearing. Given your long service as both a prosecutor and a private attorney, I trust you did not intend your comments to be a signal that there could be adverse repercussions to a federal law enforcement official for attending the hearing or taking other official actions.”There you have it. Do and say whatever you want, no matter how shady, but don't you dare ever say anything about government officials having their lunch taken away.