Panel denies Clemens access to files

BY foxsports • April 16, 2011

A congressional panel that investigated drugs in baseball says All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens shouldn't get access to its internal files to use at his upcoming federal trial.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in court papers filed late Friday night that there is no ''carve-out'' in its secrecy laws for criminal defendants like Clemens to look into its internal notes and memoranda.

The House committee has argued that being forced to turn over its internal material for Clemens to use in federal court would violate the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches. That principle is embodied in the Constitution's speech or debate clause.

The ''application of the Speech or Debate Clause is absolute,'' the committee said in its court filing.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has scheduled an April 21 hearing on whether Clemens can get access to internal material from the law firm that created the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball and from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Mitchell Report for major league baseball, released in December 2007, accused Clemens and other players of using drugs.

At the House committee's February 2008 hearing on the Mitchell report, Clemens testified that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during 23 seasons, in which he recorded 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts and won seven Cy Young awards. Prosecutors say evidence proves that he did use drugs, and they have charged him with perjury, false statement and obstruction of Congress.

The trial has been scheduled for later this summer.

The House committee said Clemens is on a ''fishing expedition,'' looking for notes covering their interviews with his longtime personal trainer Brian McNamee, who told investigators he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs; and retired player Andrew Pettitte and his wife Laura. Clemens' right to a fair trial will not be affected if documents are not turned over, the committee said.

''Whether or not such documents exist, Mr. Clemens will have ample opportunity to examine Messrs. McNamee and Pettitte, as well as Ms. Pettitte, at trial,'' the committee said.

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