Going forward, questions will focus on Clemens more than McNamee
During Wednesday's hearing on Capitol Hill, which lasted more than four hours, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform interrogated Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens about their irreconcilable stories concerning McNamee's work as Clemens' trainer. The proceedings, which included newly disclosed evidence, raised further questions about the possibility of future criminal investigations and charges. Here are some of the questions and their answers:
Did the hearing produce any evidence that could cause problems for Roger Clemens?
Yes. Clemens and his team of lawyers and crisis management experts should worry about two developments in the hearing.
Second, Clemens and his legal team blundered into the possibility of a charge of tampering with a witness. The potential charge could stem from their handling of a committee request for information about a woman who once served as a Clemens family nanny. (The committee staff requested the woman's contact information last week.) The committee wanted to ask her about a barbecue luncheon at Jose Canseco's house in Miami in June 1998, and whether Clemens attended the party. The protocol for producing a witness requires that a lawyer, or an investigator for the lawyer, contact a witness and send their information to the committee. Instead of following the protocol, Clemens called the former nanny personally and invited her to his home for a meeting on Sunday. We do not yet have the entire content of their conversation, but it is clear that he discussed the inquiry with her. Waxman was clearly angry that Clemens talked with the nanny before the committee's staff interviewed her and said, "At the very least, it has the appearance of impropriety."
Did the hearing produce any evidence that will cause problems for Brian McNamee?
No. Although he was attacked viciously by a few Republican members of the committee and called a "liar" and "drug dealer," McNamee performed surprisingly well. He admitted that he had been less than truthful with federal agents and the Mitchell committee. He said he withheld some of his information -- and his box of syringes, vials and gauze pads -- in an effort to "downplay the use of these drugs" and protect players. But in the course of interviews with five groups of investigators, including Clemens' detectives, he gradually revealed the information he knew and the physical evidence that he had accumulated. McNamee's statements have been corroborated by Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch. Mitchell and his staff have endorsed his veracity on numerous occasions. It is unlikely that the committee will recommend charges against McNamee and equally unlikely that the FBI or the IRS will investigate him.
Rusty Hardin and Lanny Breuer, two of Clemens' attorneys, tried to interrupt the hearing with objections and arguments. Isn't a lawyer allowed to represent his client in a hearing on Capitol Hill?
Hardin and Breuer jumped to their feet several times during the hearing, trying to voice objections to questions from the committee. They were particularly vociferous as they interrupted Waxman's description of Clemens' recent contact with the nanny as possible tampering with a witness. They also whispered in Clemens' ears with suggestions for answering some questions. The rules on Capitol Hill do not permit interruptions and objections from lawyers, but they do permit whispered conversations between lawyers and their clients. Waxman allowed the lawyers to say a fraction of what they wanted to say in their objections before telling them to sit down. And he waited patiently as the lawyers whispered to Clemens. Most lawyers are reluctant to whisper to their clients during a hearing; it looks like they are coaching a witness who is having trouble answering a tough question. McNamee's lawyers whispered to their client very rarely. But on at least three occasions, Hardin and Breuer tried to help Clemens in whispered conversations before he answered a question.
Nothing is certain, but there might be additional investigations of Clemens' testimony and of the nanny situation. It could come from the committee or, more likely, from the team of federal agents who have been working on the BALCO investigation.
When the committee came to believe that Miguel Tejada might have lied in its earlier investigations, it asked the Department of Justice to investigate. That request came from both the Democrat and Republican members of the committee. At this hearing, it was clear that a division of opinion was beginning to develop along party lines, with most Republicans lining up behind Clemens and most Democrats lining up behind McNamee. It is unlikely that the committee will send a bipartisan request for an investigation on the McNamee-Clemens issues. It is possible, however, that Waxman may ask for an investigation of Clemens' possible perjury and witness tampering. He enjoys significant powers as the committee chairman and was clearly unhappy with the nanny situation.
Several FBI and IRS agents were in the audience at the hearing. The agents leading the BALCO investigation already have interviewed McNamee and are investigating the authenticity of his box of syringes and gauze pads that he claims were used when he injected Clemens with HGH. Their investigation could lead to a grand jury inquiry of Clemens. But that is far from certain.
Some committee members attacked McNamee and his veracity. Others attacked Clemens. Who is the most important witness in this dispute?
Andy Pettitte is the most important witness. Although the committee members clearly disagreed on the relative veracity of McNamee and Clemens, they all agreed that Pettitte is a man of integrity who responded to the committee's questions with truths that were painful to him. His testimony about his friend Clemens was a most painful act of integrity, both sides agreed. Both the Democrats and Republicans thought so highly of Pettitte and his cooperation that they granted his request to be excused from testifying at Wednesday's hearing. Excusing Pettitte might have been a mistake. If he had been present to tell his story of HGH and his conversations with Clemens, it could have been the most illuminating testimony in the hearing. It is of considerable benefit to Clemens that Pettitte, with his material highly damaging to Clemens, was not present to add to his problems. Any decision on the prosecution of Clemens will turn not on McNamee's credibility but on that of Andy Pettitte.Lester Munson, a Chicago lawyer and journalist who reports on investigative and legal issues in the sports industry, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Headley wins it in 14th of debut with Yanks
- Schoop's 2-run HR helps O's beat Angels
- Rockies place Tulowitzki (hip strain) on DL
- Lincecum posts first save as Giants need 14
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
CONGRESS CALLS FOR JUSTICE
Perjury Probe• Clemens issues apology for personal 'mistakes'
• Report: Clemens alleged to have had affair
• Republican's report questions if Clemens lied
• Report: Clemens probe expands to Houston clinic
• Congressman asks FBI to drop Clemens inquiry
• FBI opens probe of whether Clemens was truthful
• Congress asks Justice to examine Clemens
• Waxman: Seven contradictions (.pdf)
• Rocket mum on Congress' investigation request
• Text of committee's letter to Justice department
• Fainaru-Wada: Damning analysis on Clemens
• Wojciechowski: Clemens' inconsistent truth
• Poll: Clemens lied, but should be voted into Hall
• Astros owner might reconsider Clemens contract
After The Hearing• Radomski says new HGH receipt found under TV
• Report: Receipts show HGH shipments to Clemens
• U.S. GM: Clemens not welcome on Olympic team
• Judge allows Clemens to keep Hardin in lawsuit
• Lawyer talking with Clemens about dropping suit
• McNamee's attorneys ask judge to remove Hardin
• Investigator wants to talk to Canseco about Clemens
• Report: McNamee selling off signed Clemens items
• McNamee tells students to learn from his mistakes
• Hardin makes case to represent Clemens
• Reports: McNamee faints behind wheel, hits bus
• McNamee's lawyers want Clemens' suit tossed
• Report: McNamee nearly joined Mets as coach
• Report: Photo exists of Clemens at party
• Pettitte reports, apologizes
• Report: Pettitte's HGH provided by ex-classmate
• Posada: 'I believe Rocket' about steroid claims
The Hearing• Transcripts: McNamee attempted to warn Rocket
• Report: Waxman wishes hearings didn't happen
• Parties divide over Clemens' treatment at hearing
• Stark's running blog
• Clemens: Pettitte 'misremembered' him on HGH
• Fish: Clemens' support breaks along party lines
• Fish: Pettitte's role was clincher for Cummings
• Pettitte says he also used HGH in 2004
• Clemens statement: I never took steroids
• McNamee statement: I told truth about Clemens
• Statement on behalf of Andy Pettitte on affadavit
• Debbie Clemens admits HGH use
Analysis• Munson: The Rusty Hardin effect on Rocket's lawsuit
• Wojciechowski: Clemens feeds feds' case
• Fainaru-Wada: Damning analysis on Clemens
• Stark: Pettitte saga doesn't end here
• Wojciechowski: Pettitte deals with past
• Hill: Truth will set Andy free
• Bryant: Clemens blames all but himself
• Wojciechowski: Pettitte speaks loudest
• ESPN experts: Who was more credible?
• Munson Q&A on Wednesday's hearing
• Drehs: Body language breakdown
• Stark: Pettitte's shadow looms large
• Neyer: What matters to Roger is Roger
Video• Complete coverage from the hearings
Committee Depositions/Interviews (pdf)• Andy Pettitte | Brian McNamee
• Roger Clemens | Chuck Knoblauch
• Clemens' nanny
The Mitchell report• Mitchell delivers his report | Read it (pdf)
• Players: Who's named in the report
• Recommendations from the report