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LIVE BLOG: Congressional Hearing on Mitchell Report PDF Print E-mail
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Mitchell Report
Written by Maury Brown and Dave Rouleau   
Tuesday, 12 February 2008 22:43

 

Mitchell Report Hearing

Today's hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will mark a key moment in the ongoing implications from the release of the Mitchell Report. With Kirk Radomski, Andy Pettitte, and Chuck Knoblauch providing sworn depositions, but not testifying before the committee, the day will largely be about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee.

While the report commissioned by Major League Baseball has become a raging debate in the court of public opinion, questions remain as to whether the method by which the report's focus on player names is really on trial. At stake is the integrity of a man deemed to be a first ballot Hall of Fame pitcher in Roger Clemens, against the word of his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee. The integrity of former Senator George Mitchell's report hinges largely on whether the word of McNamee is truthful, and if not, how the process of the report was handled. With both sides fighting so vehemently to say they are telling the truth—yet knowing that one is lying—raises the stakes for McNamee and Clemens, while calling into question the way in which the report was released. The fact that Charlie Scheeler, a key investigator of the Mitchell Commission, is the only other member to testify today, outlines that not only is Clemens and McNamee under scrutiny, but the Mitchell investigation, as well.

Today's hearing is entitled:

"The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball, Day 2"

With the importance of today's hearing, Maury Brown and Dave Rouleau of the Business of Sports Network will be blogging the proceedings live starting at 7am ET

Updates are being displayed below.

Select Read More to View this Live Event

Supporting Information for Today's Proceedings 


9:40am ET - Maury Brown - Pre-Hearing News

The NY Times is reporting that not only will Clemens be faced with the damaging testimony of Andy Pettitte that was collected during deposition, but also information that the committee itself has collected, according to two lawyers familiar with the situation:

“The committee is not messing around and has other damaging evidence against Roger,” one of the lawyers said.

The other lawyer said, “Andy said enough to really hurt Roger.”

Clemens continued to insist on Tuesday that he never received injections. He made those denials while visiting privately with six more members of the committee, bringing his three-day lobbying total to 25 of the 40 committee members. But in many respects, it was the calm before a momentous clash for Clemens, the most decorated pitcher in baseball history.


10:03am ET - Dave Rouleau - Clemens Arrives

Roger Clemens is getting in the building.  CNN reports that they have seen his opening statement, where he says, again, that he denies McNamee's allegations against him.

 

10:08am ET - Dave Rouleau - Moment of Silence for Tom Lantos

 There is a moment of silence for Tom Lantos who passed away recently.

 

10:12am ET - Dave Rouleau - Chairman Statement

The Chairman says "we had no intention of making baseball a part of our agenda, however given the nature of the Mitchell Report..." 

He then proceeds to talk about the statements by Knoblauch and McNamee in the deposition and says Knoblauch acknowledged his use of PEDs.

Then, he talks about Pettitte, but doesn't reveal anything yet, keeping for later in the hearing. 

It is very strange to see both McNamee and Clemens seated at the same table.

The Chairman states "someone isn't telling the truth", because the statements received describe very different stories. 

He says that Pettitte and Knoblauch backed McNamee's statement in their deposition, but that McNamee also neglected to tell the full truth "because I was trying to protect the guy....not hurt him"

 

10:26am ET - Dave Rouleau - Pettitte acknowledges Clemens' use

Pettitte and Clemens talked about the use of PED in 1999 and 2005.  They also talked about his wife's use and how it helped a body recover.

 

10:34am ET - Dave Rouleau - Tom Davis opening statement

He is sorry to be there, but felt like he needed to shed light on the allegations in the Mitchell Report.

Want my take, folks?  Clemens is toast.  He clearly spoke about HGH with Pettitte and McNamee and said later, when asked again later by Pettitte what he would say to reporters if asked about HGH, he said "No, you misunderstood, my wife received them, not me".  Pettitte clearly did not want to go further in the discussion, according to his deposition, but had no doubt Clemens was the one who had received them, along with his wife.

 

10:36am ET - Dave Rouleau - Taking the Oath

Two opening statements are coming up.  All three participants took the oath.  Clemens goes first with the statement.

 

10:41am ET - Dave Rouleau - Clemens statement

Condensed... 

"never took any shortcuts...I always want to help everyone...I may be too trusting...how do you prove a negative...my name will never be restored...McNamee's statement about me are wrong"

Brief statement by the pitcher.  McNamee is beginning.

 

10:47am ET -Dave Rouleau - McNamee statement

"apologize to American people for tainting out national pastime....injected Clemens, Pettitte and Knoblauch many times with HGH...I told the truth all along...I hope that the American people, in some small way, can pardon me for my actions...never injected anyone with B12, despite statement by Clemens...my father, who was a policeman in NYC, instilled honest principles in me...Pettitte and Knoblauch have backed my statements...never really trusted Clemens, despite respect for him, that's why I kept the physical evidence...everything changed on January 7th when the call between me and Clemens was made public, that was despicable...I lied to police officers to protect friends and co-workers...painful that my name will forever be linked to this scandal."

 

10:54am ET - Dave Rouleau - Questioning begins

Questions to Clemens about Pettitte and Clemens conversation.  Clemens denies that ever happening and states that he thinks Pettitte is an honest 'fellow'.  Pettitte injected himself again in 2004, something the investigators did not know. 

Clemens again states that Pettitte misunderstood and was talking about a TV show where he heard about HGH.  He was shocked to know Andy used PED.  Clemens sighs, loudly.

All evidence so far is CLEARLY against Clemens and the first questioner made sure he knew what 'under oath' means.

 

11:01am ET - Dave Rouleau - Pettitte wife's deposition

Pettitte wife, Laura, told investigators that his husband told him about a conversation he had with Clemens about HGH in 1999 or 2000.

Clemens loves the word 'mis-remembers' (about Pettitte) and has used it about five times so far.

Laura also said that Andy told her Clemens' wife had used it in 2005.  

 

11:07am ET - Dave Rouleau - Davis questions McNamee and Clemens

The regimen for growth hormones was four times a week, according to McNamee. Clemens bled through his designer pants and a player (Mike Stanton) asked about it, according to McNamee's deposition.  Clemens denies it ever happened.

McNamee says they then bought Band-Aids so it doesn't bleed through the clothes.  Clemens said to Stanton "I'll do anything to get an edge".

 

11:20am ET - Dave Rouleau - Barbecue and B12

Everyone remembers Clemens not being there, from Jose Canseco to the Blue Jays travel secretary, except McNamee.  Clemens played golf that day and showed a receipt.  McNamee says he saw his nanny grab his kid near the pool and turned around only to see Roger Clemens and Debbie.

Tom Davis is handling this matter really well, just looking if McNamee's memory is good when he wants it to be good.

Clemens says his kids could have been there and believes Debbie was with him at the golf course.

The pitcher now talks about B12 and vitamins and how his mother always taught him to take them.  McNamee says he first heard of Clemens taking B12 on 60 Minutes.

 

11:25am ET - Dave Rouleau - Debbie's use of HGH

Clemens is caught in a lie with regards to his wife's use with HGH, giving different accounts of what he said.

 

11:41am ET - Dave Rouleau - Grilling

McNamee just got grilled by  .  He said that he thinks Clemens is innocent, because he has not been proven guilty and it is disgusting all the lies McNamee has told in the past. 

Very agitated gentleman.

 

11:46am ET - Maury Brown - McNamee Admits to Lying to Federal Investigators

Clemens may be lying, but McNamee admits that he did. Brian McNamee was grilled repeatedly about his possible lying to Federal investigators. McNamee admits lying repeatedly to investigators.

 

12:03am ET - Dave Rouleau - Famous buttocks

Clemens had an injury to his buttocks and McNamee says Blue Jays head trainer told him it was an abscess, which would more than likely reveal the injection of Winstrol.  

Davis asks McNamee why he would provide steroids as a former policeman.  He says he is ashamed. 

McNamee is coming under fire and I'm surprised how much he lied and how much Clemens is getting a free ride for the time being, although Lynch threw him some curves.  Davis, however, is falling all over himself to back Clemens

(Maury Brown comment) 

Conversation is about Winstrol injection was too fast regarding abscess. McNamee says Clemens developed an abscess. McNamee says Clemens threw the Winstrol into his locker and says, “Get rid of this stuff.” McNamee is now unaware whether he did a botched injection. Davis says that under oath, he said he injected Clemens in Tampa Bay. Tommy Craig, and Scott Shan (sp?), Ron Taylor, Alan Gross doesn’t remember an abcess with Clemens buttocks. Davis asks why they don’t recollect the abscess. "Are you certain Tommy Craig said it was a abscess?" McNamee says, "Yes." Davis asks why they are saying their recollection and McNamee’s don’t jive. McNamee says he is unaware of the dates. Davis why did he inject illegal substances into professional athletes. McNamee says he was ashamed, but he did it and that is why he is hear today. Since 2002, he says he did not inject athletes, but in 2003, he injected Debbie Clemens

 

12:23am ET - Dave Rouleau - Mitchell report

McNamee says he gave Clemens steroids, Winstrol and HGH.  Clemens is then questioned about the six times he said he had no idea Mitchell wanted to talk to him, but says in the 60 minutes interview he decided not to go.  His agent reportedly kept the request from Clemens and he hasn't fired his agent or representatives for this mistake.

 

12:27am ET - Dave Rouleau - Cover-up?

McNamee says a union rep. told him in 2000 that the owners wanted to cover up the allegations.  McNamee provided the physical evidence AFTER the taped call was played to the public on January 7th and his sure the DNA will belong to Clemens, but could potentially not reveal PED use.

 

12:41am ET - Dave Rouleau -Nanny says Clemens was at the party

Clemens talks about his upbringing, not having a car in school, so he was running home.  He says McNamee, contrary to his alleagations, did not 'make him into what he is'.

Again, the heat is on McNamee so far.  There is no deal on the table for McNamee, according to him. 

The chairman of the committee says they were denied access to the nanny for a while.  She said to the committee that she was at Canseco's home and Clemens was there, too.  She says that Clemens asked her to go to his home, the first time he'd talked to her since 2001.

 (Maury Comments)

McNamee is asked if there is a deal with the Feds in exchange for his testimony today. McNamee says, “No.”

Waxman gets back to Clemens at Canceco’s party. Waxman asks if Clemens was at Canceco’s June 8-10 time period. Clemens had testified that he did not. Committee reports that they investigated the party, and ask for the name of Clemen’s nanny. The committee was unable to contact her till Monday, and spoke to her yesterday. Nanny says she was at Conceco;s and spent the night. Does not remember a party. Remembers that Clemens was there during the time period, and that it conflicts. On Sunday Clemens calls her and asked to get her to his house.

Clemens met with her, and then lawyers for Clemens spoke to her. Clemens tells her to tell the truth. Waxman: “Was it your idea” to contact her? Rusty Hardin leaps up and defends himself. Waxman says he doesn’t believe that there is anything improper.That there was  Impropriety. Attorneys should not have interviewed. Should have provided that the committee would call her. “Innuendo!!,” by Clemen's lawyer, Lanny Brewer. Clemens says, “I’m hurt by statements…”

 

(HEARING BREAK)

 

1:15pm ET - Maury Brown - Comments on the Hearing, so far

 

Today has been something… No one looks good. With Andy and Laura Pettitte’s testimony in which they both state that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, the day looked to be an attack on Clemens. Instead, it has become, as one committee said, “Frustrating.” Someone is lying, but do not yet definitively know who it is.

McNamee has become more of a focus as his repeated admission of lying to investigators has placed his credibility further into question.

Clemens has been dealing with conflicting recollections regarding his wife’s use of hGH.

A huge comment by McNamee about a conversation with David Cone, then a player rep, regarding management’s efforts to stall testing has brought up talk of possibly more hearings with owners being made to testify.

We have lengthy conversation about an abscess on Clemens’ rear.

We have comments regarding the handling of physical evidence that McNamee has turned over.

We have Clemens’ nanny involved, regarding Canseco’s party and whether there was impropriety in some way in contacting her -- witness tampering after the committee was unable to reach her.

We have Clemens’ attorneys jumping up and speaking out of turn, which has added to the drama… grandstanding by several members of the committee (one went so far as to ask what jersey Clemens would wear into the Hall of Fame).

It’s been seedy. It’s been unseemly. It’s been, on so many levels, appalling that we have congress involved in this matter

Such is the place we are in in the wake of the Mitchell Report.

What will be interesting is reading the depositions that the committee has said they will release to the public. As one committee member said, “This (the hearing) has been about interaction” between McNamee and Clemens. Today barely scratches the surface when we get to the testimony collected under oath by the likes of Pettitte, Knoblauch, and Radomski. They must be sitting back watching all of this saying, "Thank God, I'm not there right now."

And think… we are most likely only half way through today's hearing. What else will we see?

 

1:28pm ET - Dave Rouleau - Davis continues questioning 

Davis establishes that the nanny could only be contacted through Clemens and that her English is not that good.  Clemens goes through the discussion with her last Sunday, saying they were all trying to remember what happened concerning the Canseco party.

What's Davis problem?  Big fan of Clemens I guess...

McNamee presented himself on the Ramdomski's checks as a doctor, even though his University had no-campus and was through mail only, something he says he didn't know before.

I'm tired of the pleasantries between the members of the committee and Clemens. Is there an autograph session after? 

 

1:34pm ET - Dave Rouleau - McNamee recording with Clemens investigators

Part of the recording was not made public and Clemens is asked why they asked the trainer whether he had physical evidence.  Clemens pleads he's not aware of all that was asked in the recording and that he was not involved.

 

1:40pm ET - Dave Rouleau/Maury Brown -  Duncan speaks to Clemens

Duncan, a former criminal judge, says the evidence against Clemens is very weak and that the physical evidence McNamee gave the committee would probably never be admitted in any other court of the land.

Duncan, “The Mitchell Report is based on statements from someone that has admitted to lying to Federal investigators and someone that has recently plead guilty to charges.”

Clemens plays the patriot and "I worked very hard for so long" cards very well, I must say. He says he is very easy to find and if the Mitchell people wanted to talk to him, it would have been easy to do so.

Clemens is asked if he’s ever been a Vegan. Clemens states that he doesn’t even know what that is, which gives some levity to the hearings, at least for the moment.

Isom to McNamee regarding the lies that have called the Mitchell Report into doubt. Asks McNamee if he believes it has altered the perception of the Report, and  McNamee says, "No." Isom replies, "Shame on you"

 

1:58pm ET - Dave Rouleau - Taped call

They are trying to get McNamee to say why he didn't say on the publicized recording that he was telling the truth when asked by Clemens "Why did you do that?".

The trainer says he wanted him to speak to his son, not him.If he knew it would air on national television, he would have said it clearly.  He previously said that he knew halfway through the call that he was being taped or that at least other person were listening.

 

2:16pm ET - Dave/Maury - Body size

Pictures of Clemens are shown before and after the alleged use of hGH. The Congresswoman mentions the Clemens' workouts. She mentions, "Body change." As a sidebar, the use the PEDs is not all about "size", but rather, the ability to rebound from injury and fatigue.

The chairman stops Clemens in mid-sentence after he makes allegations about McNamee's past involvement with young players and asks him to clearly answer the question about his work regimen.  Clemens says he takes a lot of pride in his workouts and conditioning.

 

2:25pm ET - Maury/Dave - Cummings on Pettitte's Testimony. Clemens is Hard to Believe

 

Cummings sides with Pettitte given the fact that both his response and Knoblauch’s response jives with McNamee’s version of the story. Clemens claims that he never heard about Pettitte’s use of hGH.

 He also brings up Laura Pettitte's testimony. Ends by saying, "Mr. Clemen's you were one of my heroes, but I find your testimony hard to believe."

 

2:45pm ET - Maury/Dave - End of Hearing. Comments by Davis and Waxman

 

Davis: Report by Mitchell is still in tact. The day does not dispute the underlying aspects of it. Hopes that baseball still works to the recommendations of the report.

Waxman: Knoblach and Pettitte corroborate McNamee’s testimony.  Clemens interrupted, saying, “It doesn’t mean he was not mistaken, sir.”  Waxman: “It doesn’t mean that.”  Clemens: “It doesn't mean that he was not mistaken.”  Waxman very upset bangs gavel and says, “Excuse me, but this is not your time to argue with me.” Waxman apologizes to McNamee for some of the comments about his credibility. Clearly, a man that has no love for Clemens.

 

Dave Rouleau - Closing Statement

I find it hard to believe that McNamee got roughed around like he did today.  While his lying in the past should not be excused, Roger Clemens' former teammates corroborated the trainer's statements and all that was debated was whether we could NOW believe McNamee?  Sure...

When McNamee denied being a drug dealer, he was clearly wrong.  He is.  However, he was right on at least one point: he is dealing with adults that have, in some cases, a large ego and many financial reasons to put up impressive statistics, so that future contracts will reflect their level of performance.

That Clemens was praised at one point as a hero and greeted with all the pleasantries was a disturbing spectacle.  He may be guilty or innocent, but someone in there lied through their teeth all day long and we are not that much more advanced in the process.

- Do you call Pettitte a liar, Mr Clemens?

- Do you call his wife, Laura, a liar, Mr. Clemens?

- Why would he do that to you?  Would he sacrifice your friendship for a comment you possibly made about a TV show you saw in the past? 

- Your nanny tells our investigators you were present at one point of the party, is she lying?

- You played golf the day of the party, a location that's 20 minutes by car to Canseco's home, according to you.  Does that make you not present at his home during the whole day?

I really feel cheated by the hearing today, because I feel like not enough emphasis was put on the info that was revealed through the other depositions.  The chairman of the committee made a point of apologizing to McNamee for the unceremonious attacks he suffered.  While I think that's going a bit far (he did lie often in the past), he certainly expressed the view of a part of the audience today and that includes me.

I wonder if the autograph session with Clemens and member of Congress will last long?  Was their an official diner with the President and Clemens where the pitcher will give a speech about the B12 vitamins by his mother in 1988?

 

Maury Brown - Closing Statement

If there is anything to be learned today, it is that we are no further along than we were yesterday. Strike that: I'm more nauseated than I was yesterday. The committee members either pandered to Clemens and shot softball questions, made comments that were pure grandstanding ("You're going to heaven."), or slammed McNamee with being a drug dealer. In the case of the two testifying, they both look guilty. 

Clemens spent the day saying that while hGH surrounded him -- either Andy Pettitte, his wife Laura, or Clemens' own wife Debbie -- he was never aware of them and is only now coming to understand them. Pettitte's damning testimony? "He misheard."

As for McNamee, he was portrayed as greasy, and his comments didn't help. Arguing that it was the "opinion" of a committee member that he was a drug dealer didn't help his case. "It is what it is," may fly in New York (at one point it was mentioned that the record should reflect what that means to a native New Yorker), but come on... 

I think the comment by Rep. Sounder had everyone twitching at MLB Headquarters when he said at one point, "The Mitchell Report was not targeted towards the ownership and it’s one thing we haven’t investigated. … This comes at the core question of the legislation that ... (was) introduced, whether we can trust baseball to, in fact, do testing on themselves." With McNamee throwing David Cone under the bus, and Scheeler doing likewise to the MLBPA regarding letters sent to them where it is said that players would have the right to see information and evidence against them before the Mitchell Report was published, baseball comes off as a circus with not three rings, but more than one can count.

Furthermore, Bud Selig has said that he is proud of what Senator Mitchell did in his report. That may be the public persona, but it's hard not to believe that late at night when Bud's head hits the pillow he curses under his breath. After all, it is the method of the report -- it's focus on names of players, rather than detailed look at the overall, which has created this monster.

Finally, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said at one point, “I am not a fan of holding these hearings on issues we have no business dealing with.” She, and others, mentioned that the name they fall under is "Government Oversight Committee." While my eyes are red from watching, I can't help but think of my blood pressure. With the ills of a declining economy and wars on two fronts, we have our elected officials grandstanding over a "buttocks abscess" and a party at Jose Canseco's. Where is the "government oversight"? I was more embarrassed for our political leaders, with Waxman leading the charge, than I was for Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, and that's saying a lot. Let me ask... What's sexier, Roger Clemens or some owner like Peter Magowan? This is about face time at yours and mine expense. That's what happens when MLB (not the players) gets a pass on the Mitchell Report.


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