WASHINGTON - Baseball standout Roger Clemens told a federal judge Wednesday that he waives any conflict of interest that may arise from his lead criminal defense attorney briefly representing his former-teammate-turned-accuser Andy Pettitte.
In December 2007, Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin briefly advised both players just before the release of a report alleging they used performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens denies the allegation. Pettitte admitted he used human growth hormone and claimed Clemens admitted privately he did, too. Pettitte is expected to testify against Clemens during a trial scheduled for this summer on charges that Clemens lied about the drug use during a congressional hearing.
Hardin told U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that Clemens also retained Michael Attanasio, an attorney outside the Hardin firm, more than a year ago in anticipation of this issue and that Attanasio will cross-examine Pettitte. "Mr. Attanasio has not been told anything that Mr. Pettitte told us," Hardin said.
Hardin confirmed to the judge that he represented Pettitte and interviewed him, but paused when the judge asked if he gave him legal advice. "I'm not sure I gave him any advice, but we had about a six-day attorney-client relationship," Hardin said.
Walton apparently felt the issue was important enough to require Clemens and his attorneys to fly in to state their positions on the record in court. Walton ended the 10-minute hearing by raising another point he said he felt he should put on the record: a brief discussion about Clemens that the judge had with former all-star outfielder Ken Griffey Sr.
Walton said he and Griffey grew up playing ball together and ran into one another a couple months ago at a homecoming celebration in their hometown of Donora, Pa. Walton said Griffey mentioned that he saw Walton was handling the Clemens case and told the judge the defendant is a "good guy." Walton said he quickly cut off the conversation by telling Griffey he couldn't talk about the case. Walton said Wednesday he wanted to let the attorneys know, in case they had any concerns about his presiding.
Hardin joked, "Are we allowed to say, `Amen?"'
Prosecutor Daniel Butler told Walton, "We know the court. We understand the court can be fair and impartial in all circumstances and we have no objections."