War of words
McNamee, of course, is the man who, in return for freedom from prosecution, told former Sen.
Just like the Mitchell Report itself, though, the eagerly anticipated
Since the Mitchell Report was released on Dec. 13, Operation Save Roger's Image has been gaining steam at the expense of McNamee's credibility. The day the report came out, Clemens' lawyer
McNamee has remained quiet, but
According to a release by CBS, Clemens told Wallace that the only injections McNamee gave him were of vitamin B-12 and a painkiller called Lidocaine. "It's for my joints," Clemens says during the interview, "and B-12 I still take today." Clemens goes on to "swear" to Wallace that he never used banned substances. On Thursday, Hardin responded to Emery's lawsuit threat by saying that, in the piece, "Roger told the truth... I encourage Mr. McNamee to watch the program."
And watch he will, or at least Emery will, with his finger hovering over the lawsuit button. "If [Clemens] says that Brian is a liar, or uses words that, to a reasonable person impugn Brian's credibility, there will be a defamation case," Emery says. "Brian does not want to hurt Roger Clemens, there's no ill will, but if Clemens damages his ability to make a living in the future or his standing among social peers, Brian would have to take action." If Clemens simply denies using steroids and growth hormone, it is unlikely that McNamee would take legal action. "It's if he goes after Brian, that's where there's a problem," Emery says, adding that the legal minefield does not end with
If it does come to a defamation lawsuit, Clemens and McNamee would finally be on equal footing, both testifying under oath in the same forum. And if they each maintain the stances that they have thus far, it's likely that someone would be committing perjury. In a civil trial perjury is still a criminal offense, though it is rarely prosecuted.
Even if there is no defamation suit in the offing, members of the House Oversight Committee have asked Clemens and McNamee to testify in a steroid hearing on January 16. However it plays out, this is just the beginning of a saga that may end up with both men staking their freedom on their words.