Canseco comes to Clemens' defense

February 11, 2008 8:23:08 AM PST
One of the biggest whistleblowers in the baseball steroids investigation is coming to Roger Clemens' defense. The accusations in this case have been shifting faster than a professional race car driver in a Ferrari. This whole affair with Clemens got off to a quick start. There have been a lot of curves in the road, and the finish line in terms of public opinion could reach way beyond this Wednesday's congressional hearing.

Now, former big league slugger and admitted steroid user, Jose Canseco, has gotten in on the act, rebuking claims made by Roger Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee. In the Mitchell Report, McNamee says he was with Clemens at a party in 1998 at Canseco's Florida home. During that party, McNamee told investigators he observed Clemens and Canseco meeting together, and that shortly after the trip, Clemens brought up the use of steroids for the first time.

Canseco is now calling McNamee a liar. In a phone interview, he says, referring to McNamee, "I think he was pressured by someone into saying (that). I'm 1000 percent sure Roger never showed up at the party. We didn't talk then."

Canseco does admit that he and Clemens did discuss steroids in a joking manner, but that he doesn't believe the Rocket ever injected HGH or steroids.

Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, turned over evidence Saturday, including an affidavit signed by Canseco, which he says proves the pitcher never attended the party. According to Canseco, McNamee is a -- quote -- "dirty liar."

Hardin is also clarifying some comments which appear to have rubbed the House committee chairman the wrong way. [READ HENRY WAXMAN'S LETTER TO RUSTY HARDIN | READ RUSTY HARDIN'S RESPONSE]

Hardin was speaking about Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator in the steroid probe, when he told the New York Times, "If he ever messes with Roger (Clemens), Roger will eat his lunch.'' He also said it would be "brazen" if Novitzky showed up for the hearing Wednesday.

Henry Waxman, the chairman of the committee which Clemens will testify before, said Hardin's comments could be interpreted as trying to intimidate a federal law enforcement official and he urged Hardin to clarify himself.

Overnight, we got a statement from Hardin which, in part, reads, "I certainly did not intend to suggest that agent Novitzky did not have the right to attend the hearing." It goes on to say, "I no more intended to intimidate agent Novitzky than you intended to intimidate me by publicly releasing a letter chiding me for my conduct as my client prepares to appear before your committee."

Eyewitness News reporter Jessica Willey will be in Washington DC to bring you live reports on Wednesday's hearing. She files her first report tomorrow night.

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