Roger Clemens has no interest in settling Brian McNamee's defamation suit out of court, Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin said Wednesday, potentially paving the way for another trial featuring the former Yankees pitcher and his chief accuser.
McNamee, of Long Beach, filed his suit against Clemens three years ago, saying the seven-time Cy Young Award winner slandered McNamee by calling him a liar after the Mitchell Report published his allegations of injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs.
Lawyers for McNamee said after a status hearing in Brooklyn federal court yesterday morning that they are pushing for a civil trial "hopefully in the next year." The case was on hold throughout Clemens' criminal proceedings. Clemens was acquitted last week of criminal charges that he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, told U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson that a defamation trial would be "completely different" than the criminal case. "Who's lying? Is McNamee lying or is Clemens lying?" Emery said after the hearing. "That's what a jury has to decide in Brooklyn."
Emery also hoped the road to trial would be smooth because much of the evidence, including FBI interview reports, would be the same as in the criminal trial. But Hardin told the judge he did not believe he had the authority to turn over those materials given to him by the government without its approval.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington declined to comment on whether the government would allow Hardin to hand the evidence over to McNamee's lawyers.
Clemens and McNamee were not at the hearing, where Judge Johnson set the schedule. Hardin agreed to file a formal response to McNamee's lawsuit by Aug. 2. The two sides will return to court in early September to update the judge on their progress toward trial.
McNamee's lawyers hope to begin deposing witnesses, including Clemens, Andy Pettitte and their wives, in the fall.
Emery also declined to state how much money McNamee would seek from Clemens in damages, but said the figure continues "accumulating by the day" because of the long-lasting impact of Clemens' words.
Said Emery: "Brian's life has essentially been destroyed by this case."