Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sources: FBI subpoenaed Clemens' files
By T.J. Quinn
FBI agents investigating Roger Clemens pored through medical records from his former teams earlier this year, looking for evidence that he perjured himself in February when he told Congress he had never used steroids or human growth hormone, several sources have told ESPN.
Agents met with club officials and attorneys from the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays in late spring, reviewing medical documents the teams had and interviewing some medical and training personnel.
The team medical reports are not expected to yield much information other than to confirm details made public when Clemens testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, such as the existence of an abscess on Clemens' buttocks while he played for the Blue Jays in 1998.
Brian McNamee, the personal trainer who said he provided performance-enhancing drugs for Clemens and other athletes, told congressional investigators that Clemens had developed the abscess after McNamee injected him. McNamee told investigators that he injected Clemens privately, so it is possible that team officials and medical staff were unaware of Clemens' alleged use.
Such abscesses have been associated with steroid use, although the existence of such an abscess is not necessarily evidence that Clemens was doping. FBI agents interviewed some club medical and training staff representatives and asked what they recalled about the incident, and whether Clemens had discussed steroid or HGH use.
The Yankees and Astros records were subpoenaed, but the FBI had no authority to subpoena material from the Blue Jays. Sources said they were not aware of how much information the FBI was able to obtain directly from the Blue Jays, and under Canada's strict privacy laws, patient consent is needed to release medical records.
Clemens did sign a waiver in February, however, that allowed the Blue Jays to turn over relevant medical reports to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and those records were made available to the FBI.
Although Blue Jays personnel who were interviewed by committee investigators said they had no knowledge of an abscess, the records showed that he had been treated for one.
Officials from Clemens' former clubs declined comment, as did Rusty Hardin, Clemens' attorney.
MLB officials also declined comment, but one source said the teams were told "to cooperate and make sure you get a lawyer who's an expert in medical privacy law," and another source confirmed that directive. MLB and club sources said they have heard nothing about the investigation since the summer, and were not aware whether any of the information culled from the reports would incriminate Clemens
In connection with the House hearing in February, former Yankees teammates Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch confirmed that they had received drugs from McNamee, but Clemens flatly denied the accusations. Pettitte, who did not appear before the committee but gave sworn testimony to investigators, essentially confirmed McNamee's version of events, saying he was aware Clemens used human growth hormone and had discussed it with him.
The hearing broke almost completely on party lines, with Democrats tending to attack Clemens and Republicans going after McNamee. Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) asked the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., to open a perjury investigation. Ranking minority member Tom Davis (R-Va.) led a Republican response that questioned many of McNamee's accusations. The U.S. attorney took up the case and the FBI began investigating.
As ESPN and the New York Times reported last month, investigators also took DNA samples from McNamee and his legal team to determine whether their DNA was on syringes that McNamee claims were used to inject Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs.
T.J. Quinn is a reporter for ESPN's Enterprise Unit. He can be reached at email@example.com.