Dowd says Mitchell report undermined by failure to release evidence
NEW YORK -- The lawyer who led baseball's investigation of Pete Rose said George Mitchell's failure to release most of the evidence from his probe on doping in baseball undermined the credibility of the report.
Mitchell refused a request from The Associated Press to make public more than 50 documents referenced in footnotes. The former Senate majority leader also has not released notes from his interviews with witnesses who implicated Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada and others in the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
"That's ridiculous," chief Rose investigator John Dowd said Thursday. "That surprises me. I'm sorry to hear that."
When Dowd's 225-page report on Rose's betting was made public in 1989, 84 exhibits accompanied it, including transcripts of interviews with the Cincinnati Reds manager and his associates. The report and the exhibits remain readily available at www.DowdReport.com .
Mitchell, according to lawyers involved in his probe, did not create transcripts of interviews. However, aides took notes.
"It's a subject I never talked to George about or his people," Dowd said. "They went about it their way. I think the way we did it was better and stronger. I'm not saying that in a critical way, I'm just saying it really smoked it out. And now we've got this problem with Clemens, and I don't know how the hell they sort that out."
John Clarke Jr., a spokesman for Mitchell, said Mitchell would not release the documents.
"Other than Senator Mitchell's testimony before congressional committees, our work has been completed," Clarke said in an e-mail to the AP. "The documents that you requested in your e-mail were provided to us for purposes of conducting the investigation and preparing the report. We suggest that you direct your request for copies of the documents to the parties who provided them to us."
Most of the documents requested originated from the commissioner's office. Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, did not respond to several telephone calls and an e-mail.
Dowd also faulted Clemens, who has been accused by former trainer Brian McNamee of using human growth hormone and steroids, for not speaking with Mitchell.
"When Clemens said 'I let McNamee stick me with some vitamin B-12' or whatever the hell it was, I said, well, you know, that's interesting, why didn't you go tell Mitchell that?" Dowd said. "Mitchell, I think, would have given him a fair shake, would have said, 'OK, the guy injected you, so it looks like McNamee changed his story a little.' I think the other thing that bothered Mitchell was he couldn't get any records from the union. I must say, that that casts a pall on the whole matter."
Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said that Clemens thought Mitchell wanted to speak only about the October 2006 report in the Los Angeles Times that the pitcher had been included in a federal agent's affidavit that alleged pitcher Jason Grimsley implicated players in drug use. When the full affidavit was unsealed last month, Clemens was not mentioned.
"Roger and his agent both have said if they had known that at the time that Roger got the invitation that McNamee was talking to them making these allegations, they would have gone down there in a split second," Hardin said.
The players' association refused to cooperate with Mitchell, saying he would not provide players advance knowledge of the allegations made against them.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding two hearings on the report released last month and said Wednesday it planned to take depositions from Clemens and McNamee, who told Mitchell he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The committee also will take depositions from two of Clemens' former teammates, Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, and Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse attendant who has pleaded guilty to drug distribution.
Clemens has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, and before the Feb. 13 hearing the committee wants to obtain tapes of conversations with McNamee made by Clemens' legal team. Two committee staffers declined to comment Thursday on whether the panel has asked for or will seek evidence gathered by Mitchell.
"I wouldn't for a moment try to decide what Sen. Mitchell ought to disclose," Hardin said. "I'm more interested in who he talked to and who he did not talk to to reach his conclusions."
Mitchell's report did include an appendix with photocopies of 91 checks and money orders, most of them sent to Radomski, along with eight express mail slips and two notes allegedly written by catcher Paul Lo Duca.
Commissioner Bud Selig repeatedly said Mitchell was independent of Major League Baseball, but the union and many lawyers for players argued that was untrue. They cited Mitchell's continuing role as a director of the Boston Red Sox, his past role as a director of the Florida Marlins, his participation in Selig's economic study committee and his tenure as a director and chairman of The Walt Disney Co., the parent company of baseball broadcast partner ESPN.
"Bud's paying the bill. Bud's the client," union leader Donald Fehr said Wednesday. "It was a report put together by somebody hired and paid by the clubs and by the commissioner."
Although Rose was a management employee, subject to the power of the commissioner, players are protected by their collective bargaining agreement. That limited what Mitchell could do.
"I think Congress is going to be much tougher," Dowd said. "I think one thing Mitchell did accomplish is he exposed the tip of the iceberg here about how serious it is. I think he made a contribution there. I think he did the best he could based on some of the opposition, the lack of support."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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