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Clemens' ex-trainer to pursue defamation lawsuit
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A trainer who testified that he injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs intends to proceed with a defamation lawsuit against the baseball legend despite Clemens' recent acquittal on perjury charges, his lawyer said on Wednesday after a court hearing in Brooklyn.
Brian McNamee filed the civil lawsuit in 2009, seeking an unspecified amount in monetary damages from Clemens, who he trained with during stints at the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees. McNamee said his life has been ruined by interviews in which Clemens and his lawyers said he was "off the deep end" and trying to "shake (Clemens) down" with "totally false" statements.
McNamee recently appeared as a witness for the government in Clemens' trial on charges that he lied under oath to congressional investigators about using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens has publicly denied McNamee's account and, on June 18, was cleared by a jury of the perjury charges.
Following a hearing in Brooklyn federal court to discuss the status of the civil lawsuit, a lawyer for McNamee said he is asking Clemens' lawyers to turn over grand jury testimony and other sealed statements made by Clemens and other key figures in the criminal case.
McNamee's lawyer, Richard Emery, said he hopes to push the defamation case to trial within the next year. It will be up to a jury to decide whether Clemens or McNamee was lying, Emery said, noting the different standard for civil cases compared to criminal charges.
"Brian's life has essentially been destroyed by this case," Emery said, referring to Clemens' perjury trial.
Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said the government would weigh in on whether he could turn over grand jury testimony and other documents he received as part of Clemens' perjury defense.
Hardin said Clemens "feels very good" about his recent acquittal but declined to comment on the specifics of the McNamee lawsuit.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award winner, is considered one of the greatest pitchers in professional baseball history. His first federal perjury trial ended in a mistrial in 2011 after the jury was shown inadmissible evidence.
The case is McNamee v. Clemens, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 09-1647.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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