Previewing the Clemens steroids hearing

February 13, 2008 6:59:24 AM PST
Today, for the first time, Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee will testify publicly about allegations the Rocket used performance enhancing drugs. They'll be in Washington DC for the much anticipated hearing on the Mitchell Report. While Andy Pettite has been spared from publicly testifying during tomorrows hearing, portions of his sworn deposition may be read aloud. And sources say those portions support Brian McNamee's claims and not Clemens'.

Clemens will testify before a congressional panel for the very first time today, publicly addressing the steroids allegations outlined in the Mitchell Report. Clemens and McNamee will be side by side. People across the nation and here at home will be watching. What they expect to hear is no secret.

[ Read Roger Clemens' opening statement for the committee ]

"The truth will set you free. Just tell the truth," said baseball fan Tasjah Hall. "If you did something, you are gonna suffer the consequences either now or later."

McNamee says he injected the Rocket with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times over a three year period, accusations Clemens has vehemently denied since the report on drugs in baseball was released in December. Meanwhile, some just dont know what to think.

"You want to believe him," said Larry McDonald, who supports Clemens.

Others maintain their support for Clemens, saying it has not wavered through what has turned into a war of words.

"I think he's innocent until proven guilty and I believe in him and I expect him to stick to his story," said Ken Lowrimore, who also supports Clemens.

As Clemens wrapped up his public relations campaign blitz on Capitol Hill Tuesday, lawyers for McNamee believe a federal investigations of Clemens is inevitable. Clemens' attorney says there is no need for one since Roger is telling the truth. This, as all eyes turn to our nation's capitol for today's showdown.

"I hope he's honest," said Clemens' supporter Glenn Barajas. "Everyone likes how he plays. He needs to say whether he did steroids or not because a lot of people look up to him."

Clemens' defamation suit against McNamee is being moved to federal court. The first hearing is set for April 4 at the request of McNamee's lawyers. Clemens will likely seek more than $75,000 in damages. McNamee's attorneys have not filed their response to Clemens' suit.

Here's what we can expect to see during today's hearing. There are 41 members on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They include Chairman Henry Waxman and ranking minority member Tom Davis and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. None of the members are from the Houston area.

Waxman and Davis will make opening statements. The three witnesses will be sworn in. Each committee member will have up to 15 minutes each instead of the usual five to ask questions.

In advance of today's hearing, lawmakers on Tuesday heard today about human growth hormone. Four doctors agreed HGH doesn't make athletes stronger or faster. And there are serious side effects like an increased risk of cancer. However, when medically necessary, HGH can be safe and effective when used to treat conditions like chronic kidney disease and muscle wasting due to HIV or AIDS.

Eyewitness News Reporter Jessica Willey is in Washington DC for Wednesday's hearing. And we will broadcast the entire hearing beginning at 9am on Digital Channel 13.2. You can also watch it live right here on abc13.com.

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