Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Clemens to investigate steroids accusations

News from Roger Clemens' legal camp is that the supposed-steroid user will launch his own investigation into the Mitchell Report's steroid accusations. This will coincide with a talk with reporters after his "60 Minutes" interview next month.

Where to start.

First, in my own legal opinion, if Clemens does do his own investigative work, it is very likely that it will have the same authority as the Mitchell investigation: none, really. People in the know only talked to Mitchell when they had something to lose or something to prove. Mitchell had no subpoena power, so he couldn't compel anyone to talk with him about steroids. Likewise, Clemens really doesn't have any either, yet.

There has been some talk that Clemens could file a defamation lawsuit (under a slander or libel theory) against those who have spoken out against him. If he does that, he will have legal authority to compel testimony from people who have spoken out against him. The range of people that he could speak with is possibly quite large because Clemens is a public person. With a case of public defamation, a plaintiff must show that the accusations are false (and that the defendant didn't make a good faith misstatement). In order for Clemens to show that the accusations against him are false, you can imagine how many people in any of the organizations he's pitched he could compel to testify.

As an interesting aside, as I was studying for the bar exam this summer, this exact subject came up in our review courses. Goes to show that this steroid discussion has wide-ranging appeal.

Personally, unless Clemens brings a defamation suit, this is just a publicity stunt to distract the public. It'll through a cloud of question around the Mitchell Report, and unless Clemens can give his investigation teeth through filing a lawsuit against someone and getting the subpoena power, I'd tend to believe the Mitchell Report. Clemens' investigation has the air of someone trying to save himself. Mitchell's investigation, while not perfect by any means, was more objective. Watch for Clemens to just make things more unclear, not really help this situation at all.

1 comment:

SayHey Kid said...

Also, if Clemens files a libel suit against the Mitchell report, he will have to give a sworn testimony, which pretty much means if he perjers himself he would see jail time.

Although Mitchell had no subpoena power, Selig made it known that he would severly fine or punish those who didnt cooperate. Giambi being a good example. The Clemens camp cannot do either.

Either way this is bad news for Clemens and any shot of the HOF. I guess we all know why Clemens came back those 2 years? To build up enough cash to defend himself.