Back in April, Roger Clemens and his lawyers were called onto the carpet by the judge presiding over Brian McNamee’s defamation lawsuit. The issue: Clemens was not turning over documents he was supposed to turn over in discovery.
The specific documents: hundreds of emails between Clemens and his advisors in the days following the release of the Mitchell Report. Emails generated at the time Team Clemens was coming up with a coordinated P.R. campaign in which Clemens denied drug use, trashed McNamee as a liar and a criminal and portrayed himself as the best pitcher and biggest victim in baseball history.
As I wrote at the time, it was a dumb strategy then. It’s continuing to haunt Clemens because, for whatever reason, he’s still not turning over the documents he’s supposed to turn over. And now he faces contempt of court sanctions:
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak ordered the former Yankee star to turn over the documents to Brian McNamee’s attorneys by Nov. 26. Pollak also told Clemens and his lawyers to explain by Dec. 19 why he should not be held in contempt and sanctioned for failing to produce the correspondence involving his agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, and public relations guru Joe Householder.
“Defendant’s decision not to produce all responsive documents in violation of the Court’s Order was deliberate and intentional, and therefore subject to sanctions,” Pollak wrote in her order.
Clemens, in all likelihood, is not turning over the documents because they, in all likelihood, make him look awful. Or show that he lied. Or will serve as evidence against him for MacNamee’s claims that defamatory statements made by Clemens and his representatives were such that they entitle him to punitive damages. Clemens claimed for a year that these documents were subject to the attorney-client privilege, but the judge rejected that claim.
Over the weekend, I was critical of the way Andy Pettitte behaved after his name was revealed in the Mitchell Report. But that criticism is limited to what it means in terms of image and absolute honesty. From a legal perspective, Pettitte played it right. If Clemens had said “aw shucks” and not thrown other people under the bus and had not so loudly proclaimed his victimhood, none of this would be happening.
But it’s happening. Nearly seven years after it all started. And for him, there is no end in sight.