McNamee's attorney say ex-trainer wants to testify before Congress

Updated: January 14, 2008, 5:51 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brian McNamee's attorney, Earl Ward, defended his client's asking for immunity to testify before Congress and suggested that if Roger Clemens were to contradict McNamee's testimony, the pitcher likely would be indicted for lying under oath.

"If [Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin] allows his client to go before Congress and testify under oath, I don't think we'll be talking about Roger Clemens being inducted [into the Hall of Fame], I think we'll be talking about Roger Clemens being indicted," Ward told ESPN's Bob Ley on "Outside The Lines" in his first national television interview Sunday morning.

Ward, who has drawn criticism from Hardin for asking for immunity, sounded as if he expected Congress to give McNamee immunity to testify at the Feb. 13 hearing.

"I'd be very surprised if he doesn't get immunity," Ward said. "It makes no sense whatsoever. Congress wants to hear from this man."

Clemens reportedly won't ask for immunity, but a source told ESPN's T.J. Quinn on Saturday night that Hardin is hedging over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's request to depose Clemens under oath next week because it might interfere with his defamation lawsuit against McNamee.

On Sunday, Hardin released a statement reiterating Clemens' willingness to testify before Congress in February.

"I want to make very clear that there has been absolutely no change in Roger's willingness and indeed desire to testify under oath before Congress in a public hearing at a date of the Oversight Committee's choosing," Hardin said in the statement. "Any suggestion that he or we are having any second thoughts about that is absolutely false. All other pre-appearance issues and scheduling we will discuss privately with the committee and do not think it is appropriate to discuss those matters publicly."

The source also told Quinn that Hardin is making "noises" about not turning over a taped conversation between McNamee and two investigators for Hardin's office recorded Dec. 12, the day before the Mitchell report was released. A source told Quinn all the issues surrounding Clemens' potential testimony will be raised Monday when Hardin meets with committee staffers in Washington, D.C.

"He has no choice in the matter if he's subpoenaed," said Richard Emery, one of McNamee's lawyers. "It's just a question of whether the congressional investigators will be subpoena him. If they don't, they'd be crazy. The whole point is to investigate in advance of the hearing so it isn't a circus."

Ward went on to explain that he is hoping for immunity to protect his client from possible steroid distribution charges. He also said that if he doesn't get it, he will sit down with McNamee to discuss possible courses of action.

Ward was clear that his -- and McNamee's -- first choice would be to speak to Congress.

"It's important for everyone to finally hear from Brian McNamee ... [on] his interactions with Roger Clemens," Ward said.

As far as McNamee's credibility, Ward said Andy Pettitte's statement validating the Mitchell report findings that the Yankees pitcher was injected with HGH by McNamee proves his client's truthfulness.

Ward, who said McNamee has been vetted by federal prosecutors as a witness, also indicated that he hoped former Yankees infielder Chuck Knoblauch would step forward to further corroborate McNamee's claims about Clemens.

McNamee's lawyers keep hinting there is additional evidence to back his account but won't go into details.

"We've always said there will be clear corroboration," Emery said. "Clear corroboration exists. And I won't say anything more."

Clemens and McNamee have been asked to testify Feb. 13 before Congress. Pettitte and Knoblauch also have been asked to testify, along with Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty to distributing steroids to major league players.

McNamee talked with Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella and IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky about the events that led up to his phone call last week with Clemens, a person familiar with the session told The Associated Press.

McNamee has an agreement with prosecutors that no charges would be filed against him as long as he told the truth to them and Mitchell.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.