NEW YORK (AP) — Despite Roger Clemens' victory last year in his perjury case, a defamation lawsuit filed against the former Yankees ace more than four years ago in federal court in Brooklyn is threatening to keep alive allegations that he used steroids and cheated on his wife.
A magistrate judge in the civil case last week ordered lawyers for Clemens to turn over government documents to the plaintiff, former strength coach Brian McNamee, including 22 FBI reports and notes from an Internal Revenue Service agent that refer to Clemens' alleged affairs. The lawyers had argued the material, some based on FBI interviews of various women, was made up of "inadmissible rumors."
Judge Cheryl Pollak wrote that adultery "is not usually found to be probative of a witness' character for truthfulness or untruthfulness." But, she added, lawyers for McNamee "might be able to cross-examine Mr. Clemens about instances in which he allegedly lied about his relationships, since in that case, the basis for impeachment would be dishonesty."
Given "the sensitive nature" of the FBI reports and IRS notes, Pollak said they would be filed under a protective order that would keep them private for now.
Lawyers representing Clemens in the civil case had sought to withhold more than 1,600 pages of documents from the government's criminal probe on the basis that they were grand jury material. However, the judge found that much of the material — including bank statements, letters and business records — should be turned over to the plaintiffs, saying that "documents produced in response to federal grand jury subpoenas does not automatically shield them from disclosure."
Pollak's order "gives us the essential fruits of the government investigation" in a civil case that doesn't require the higher standard of proof needed in the criminal one, Richard Emery, an attorney for McNamee said Sunday.
"All we have to prove is that Clemens more probably than not lied and that McNamee didn't," he said.