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Home BoB Documents PEDs Mitchell Report Hearing Transcript: Clemens says Pettitte "Misheard"

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Mitchell Report
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 14 February 2008 21:05

 

Mitchell Hearing - Clemens and McNamee

 

Thursday was much about trying to take stock in what was said between Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens during Wednesday's hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the Mitchell Report. Much was said by committee members that appeared to show a level of grandstanding by attacking either Clemens or McNamee on some level.

But, if there were a key moment in the hearing, and an exchange that would seem worthy of neutrality between committee member and a witness called to testify, it would most likely have been the exchange between Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Maryland) and Roger Clemens. This part of the hearing may be recalled as the "misheard" or "misremembered" exchange regarding Andy Pettitte's testimony that backs Brian McNamee's claims. As Rep. Cummings says at one point to Clemens, "What possible motive would Mr. Pettitte have to fabricate a story about you, his friend?"

For many that have been sitting on the fence wondering whether Clemens was lying or not, this exchange may well be the point where many of them saw Clemens' credibility was lost.

With a preliminary transcript of yesterday's hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform now available, this key exchange is now fully available to view.

Select Read More to see the exchange between Rep. Cummings and Roger Clemens

 Mr. Cummings. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, gentlemen, for being with us this morning.

And I was very pleased to hear both of the witnesses talk about children, because that is what this was all about when we started, so many children trying to emulate their sports stars.

I am going to ask you a few questions, Mr. Clemens, and I first want to make sure that you are very clear. You understand that you are under oath; is that correct?

Mr. Clemens. That's correct.

Mr. Cummings. And you know what that means; is that correct?

Mr. Clemens. That's correct.

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

First of all, Mr. Pettitte, Andy Pettitte, is one of the most respected players in the major leagues, and commentator after commentator has said that he is one of the most honest people in baseball. Would you agree with that?

Mr. Clemens. I would agree with that, yes, sir.

Mr. Cummings. Keep your voice up.

Mr. Clemens. I would agree with that, yes, sir.

Mr. Cummings. In fact, this is what your own lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said about Mr. Pettitte in the New York Times, and I quote, "We have nothing to fear about what Andy may testify to. Everyone says that Andy is honest. We have no reason to believe he will lie."

Would you agree with that statement your lawyer made?

Mr. Clemens. I would agree with that, yes.

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

Now, Mr. Clemens, I want to ask you just one thing. In his deposition, Mr. Pettitte told the committee that he had a conversation with you in 1999 or 2000 in which you admitted that you used human growth hormones.

Is this true?

Mr. Clemens. It is not.

Mr. Cummings. So you did not tell Mr. Pettitte at this time that you used human growth hormones?

Mr. Clemens. I did not.

Mr. Cummings. And -- but at the same time you just said that he is a very honest fellow; is that right?

Mr. Clemens. I believe Andy to be a very honest fellow, yes.

Mr. Cummings. Very well. Let's continue.

In his deposition, Mr. Pettitte was honest and forthcoming with the committee. He told us things that were embarrassing, that we had no way of knowing except through his own testimony.

First, he confirmed that Mr. McNamee injected him with HGH in 2002, which is in the Mitchell Report.

You understand that, right?

Mr. Clemens. I do.

Mr. Cummings. Then he told us that he injected himself, again, in 2004. We did not know about the 2004 injection, but he volunteered that information because he wanted the committee to know the entire truth.

It was hard for Mr. Pettitte to tell the committee about the 2004 injections. The circumstances which he described in length were exceptionally personal and embarrassing. But it was even harder for him to talk about you, Mr. Clemens. He is friends with both you and Mr. McNamee, and he felt caught in the middle.

During his deposition, he was asked how he would resolve the conflict between two friends. Here is what he said, and I quote, "I have to tell you all the truth. And one day I have to give an account to God, and not to nobody else, of what I have done in my life. And that is why I said and shared the stuff with y'all that I would not like to share with y'all," end of quote.

Now, Mr. Clemens, I reminded you that you are under oath. Mr. Clemens, do you think Mr. Pettitte was lying when he told the committee that you admitted using human growth hormones?

Mr. Clemens. Mr. Congressman, Andy Pettitte is my friend. He will -- he was my friend before this. He will be my friend after this. And again, I think Andy has misheard.

Mr. Cummings. I am sorry, I didn't hear you?

Mr. Clemens. I believe Andy has misheard, Mr. Congressman, on his comments about myself using HGH, which never happened.

The conversation that I can recall, that I had with Andy Pettitte, was at my house in Houston, while we were working out. And I had expressed to him about a TV show something that I have heard about three older men that were using HGH and getting back their quality of life from that. Those are the conversations that I can remember.

Andy and I's friendship and closeness was such that, first of all, when I learned when he was -- when he said that he used HGH, I was shocked. I had no idea.

When I just heard your statement and Andy's statement about that he also injected himself, I was shocked. I had no idea that Andy Pettitte had used HGH.

My problem with what Andy says, and why I think he misremembers, is that if Andy Pettitte knew that I had used HGH, or I had told Andy Pettitte that I had used HGH, before he would use the HGH, what have you, he would have come to me and asked me about it. That is how close our relationship was. And then when he did use it, I am sure he would have told me that he used it.

And I say that for the fact that we also used a product called Hydroxycut and ThermaCore. It had ephedra in it, from what I understand to be a natural tree root. I believe ephedra was banned in 2004, something of that nature. A player in Baltimore passed away because of it.

Andy and I talked openly about this product. And so there is no question in my mind that we would have talked, if he knew that I had tried or done HGH, which I did not, he would have come to me to ask me those questions.

Mr. Cummings. Well, let's continue.

In the deposition, we wanted to make absolutely sure, because we knew the significance of this, that Mr. Pettitte had a clear recollection. And let me read another excerpt from the deposition, and this was a question to Mr. Pettitte:

"You recollect a conversation with Mr. Clemens. Your recollection is that he said he was taking human growth hormone?"

Answer: "Yes."

"And you have no doubt about that recollection?"

"I mean, no, he told me that."

Now, Mr. Clemens, you know Mr. Pettitte well. You just again described your relationship. You described him as a close friend in your deposition. Would he tell the Congress that one of his close friends was taking an illegal, performance-enhancing drug if there were any doubt in his mind about the truth of what he was saying?

Mr. Clemens. Mr. Congressman, once again, I believe --

Mr. Cummings. Please.

Mr. Clemens. I am sorry?

Mr. Cummings. No, I just want you to go ahead and answer that.

Do you think he would do that?

Mr. Clemens. I think he misremembers --

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

Mr. Clemens. -- our conversation.

And let me add, in 2006 -- in 2006, he and I had a conversation in Atlanta's locker room when this L.A. Times report became public about a Grimsley report, and they said that Andy's and my name were listed in that. And I remember him coming into that room, the coach's room, the main office there of the clubhouse attendant, and sitting down in front of me, wringing his hands and looking at me like he saw a ghost.

And he looked right at me and said, What are you going to tell them? And I told him that I am going out there and I am going to tell them the truth, I did none of this. I never worked out with Jason Grimsley. He was a teammate of mine, and I never worked out with him. And I am going to go out there and tell them the truth.

That alone should have confirmed Andy's misunderstanding that I have ever told him that I used HGH.

Mr. Cummings. Very well. Let's continue, because I want to make sure that I get through some --

Mr. Clemens. Yes, sir.

Mr. Cummings. -- very key points.

Mr. Clemens, you have been very critical of Mr. McNamee's motives. You just did it a few minutes ago.

What possible motive would Mr. Pettitte have to fabricate a story about you, his friend?

Mr. Clemens. Andy would have no reason to.

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

This was so important we went back to Mr. Pettitte a third time, a third time. We asked him to submit an affidavit to the committee. This gave him a chance to express his recollection clearly, without the pressures of a deposition. I want to read to you what he wrote.

It says, In 1999 or 2000, I had a conversation with Roger Clemens in which Roger told me that he had taken human growth hormones. This conversation occurred at his gym in Memorial, Texas. He did not tell me where he got the HGH or from whom, but he did tell me that it helped the body recover.

It is not just Mr. Pettitte who recollects this conversation. During his deposition, Mr. Pettitte told us that he tells his wife everything. So we asked his wife to give us an affidavit about what she knew. And understand, this is under oath. Let me read to you what his wife said in her affidavit.

I, Laura Pettitte, do depose and state, in 1999 or 2000, Andy told me he had had a conversation with Roger Clemens in which Roger admitted to him using human growth hormones.

Mr. Clemens, once again I remind you. You are under oath. You have said your conversation with Mr. Pettitte never happened. If that was true, why would Laura Pettitte remember Andy telling her about the conversation?

Mr. Clemens. Once again, Mr. Congressman, I think he misremembers the conversation that we had.

Andy and I's relationship was close enough to know that if I would have known that he was -- had done HGH, which I now know, that he -- if he was knowingly knowing that I had taken HGH, we would have talked about the subject. He would have come to me to ask me about the effects of it.

Mr. Cummings. Well, the fact is, Mr. Clemens, that apparently now you know he knew it and he didn't tell you.

Has your mind changed about his credibility?

Mr. Clemens. Andy's a fine gentleman. I have no reason, again --

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

Mr. Clemens. I think he misremembers.

Mr. Cummings. Very well.

Mr. Clemens. I know it. Again, our relationship was close enough that if I knew -- if he knew that I had tried HGH, which I hadn't, he would have come to me and talked to me and discussed this subject.

Mr. Cummings. I understand.

The 1999 or 2000 conversation is not the only conversation that Mr. Pettitte remembers having with you about HGH. He also remembers a second conversation very clearly. This conversation took place in 2005. Let me read to you what he wrote about this conversation in his affidavit, and I quote:

"In 2005, around the time of the congressional hearings into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, I had a conversation with Roger Clemens in Kissimmee, Florida. I asked him what he would say if asked by reporters if he had ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

"When he asked what I meant, I reminded him that he had told me that he had used HGH. Roger responded by telling me that I must have misunderstood him. He claimed that it was his wife Debbie who used HGH; and I said, 'Okay,' or words to that effect, not because I agreed with him, but because I wasn't going to argue with him."

This conversation happened just 3 years ago, and it is the kind of conversation that most people would remember. It is hard for me to imagine that Mr. Pettitte made up this conversation.

Did you have a conversation with him to this effect?

Mr. Clemens. I don't believe I had a conversation in 2005 with him in Kissimmee, Florida. We would have been with the Houston Astros at the time.

But I don't remember that conversation whatsoever.

Mr. Cummings. Are you saying that you don't remember it, or are you telling us that you didn't have it? Do you know?

And the reason why I am asking you that is because we are dealing with some serious matters here, and I want to give you -- you wanted a fair chance to address this committee; and I am just wondering, are you telling us under oath that it didn't happen, or are you saying you just don't remember it?

Mr. Clemens. I don't remember that. And again, I will address the -- any conversation about my wife Debbie using HGH.

I know that at one point she read a USA Today article about that. I don't know the year. It sure could have been 2005 when this article came about, and they just -- it was just general talk --

Mr. Cummings. All right.

Mr. Clemens. -- about HGH.

Mr. Cummings. Let me go on.

Laura Pettitte also has a clear recollection of being told about this conversation by her husband. Let me read what she wrote:

"A few years later, I believe in 2005, Andy again told me of a conversation with Roger Clemens about HGH. Andy told me that he had been thinking that if a reporter asked him, he would tell the reporter of his own use of HGH in 2002. He said that he told Roger Clemens this and asked Roger what he would say, if asked.

"Andy told me that in the 2005 conversation Roger denied using HGH and told Andy that Andy was mistaken about the earlier conversation. According to Andy, Roger said that it was his wife Debbie who used HGH."

Now, the timeline is very important here. According to Mr. Pettitte, his first conversation with you, Mr. Clemens, occurred in 1999 or 2000. But you told us that your wife did not use HGH until 2003. That makes it impossible that you could have been referring to your wife's use of HGH in the first conversation.

These aren't the only relevant conversations that Mr. Pettitte told us about. He told us that after his first conversation with you, Mr. Clemens, he spoke with Mr. McNamee. Let me read what -- let me read to you again that affidavit, and I quote:

"Shortly after my conversation with Roger, I spoke with Brian McNamee. Only he and I were parties to the conversation. I asked Roger about HGH, and told him that Roger said he had used it. Brian McNamee became angry. He told me that Roger should not have told me about his use of HGH because it was supposed to be confidential."

Mr. McNamee, do you remember that conversation?

Mr. McNamee. Yes, sir.

Mr. Cummings. Did it happen?

Mr. McNamee. Yes, sir.

Chairman Waxman. Mr. Cummings, your time has expired.

Mr. Cummings. Thank you very much.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 

 
 
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