Report: Mitchell tried to contact Clemens twice before report

Updated: January 14, 2008, 11:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell twice tried to talk to Roger Clemens about his alleged steroid use included in his report before its release, USA Today reported Monday.

Mitchell twice sent letters to the Major League Baseball Players' Association requesting to speak to players who would be mentioned in his report into illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The letters included the dates of their alleged steroid use and the teams they played for when they allegedly used performance enhancers.

In an e-mail sent to USA Today, Mitchell said he sent letters to the players' union in the summer and in October, requesting to talk to players named in the report.

In the October letter, Mitchell wrote: "During the course of any such interview, I will inform the player of the evidence of their use, including permitting him to examine and answer questions about copies of relevant checks, mailing receipts, or other documents, and give him an opportunity to respond."

In the first letter sent to the union, Mitchell told the newspaper that he provided detailed information regarding players who would be named in the report.

"We identified the year[s] during which the alleged use had occurred and the club[s] with which the players were then affiliated," Mitchell wrote to USA Today. "Roger Clemens was one of the players listed in those letters."

Last Monday, Clemens claimed he did not know that he was going to be named in the Mitchell report and that Mitchell wouldn't disclose the nature of the allegations to his agents.

"They wouldn't respond to what it was about," Clemens said. "Obviously if I had known what Brian McNamee was saying about me I would have been there."

McNamee, Clemens' former trainer, told the Mitchell Commission that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and human growth hormone 16-21 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens asserts that the trainer injected him with only the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B-12.

Clemens has denied the allegations and has filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee.

Clemens and McNamee have been asked to testify Feb. 13 before Congress. Andy Pettitte, who has admitted to HGH use, and Chuck 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.

On Monday, Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, met with staff for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"We had a good meeting with the committee staff. We were treated very courteously and found the conversation informative and beneficial. However, I do not think it appropriate to publicly discuss the details of a private meeting."

Sources told ESPN's T.J. Quinn on Monday that after apparently hedging over the weekend, Hardin told the committee that Clemens will cooperate with their probe and will agree to be deposed in private.

Sources told ESPN Saturday that Hardin had "made noises" about producing Clemens, suggesting that a deposition might interfere with Clemens' defamation lawsuit against McNamee. A source said over the weekend that the committee might have to subpoena Clemens to appear if that was the case, but after Monday's meeting committee staffers are confident Clemens will appear willingly. Hardin had already said Clemens would be willing to testify under oath in an open hearing, but experts said Sunday that a private deposition by committee lawyers is far more probing than a hearing with questions posed by members of Congress.

Mitchell, baseball commissioner Bud Selig and union boss Donald Fehr will testify before Congress on Tuesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.