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Saturday 27, Dec 2008

  Another defamation suit in the name of doping

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clemens-mcnamee-steroidsBrian McNamee, Roger Clemens’ former personal trainer, has filed a counter suit against the controversial slugger.

The New York Post reported that McNamee is seeking $10 million in his defamation suit against his former employer, claiming Clemens had libeled and slandered him subsequent to the release of the Mitchell Report. In said report, McNamee revealed he regularly injected the former New York Yankees pitcher with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.

McNamee, a former New York police officer, later testified at the 2008 United States Congressional hearing in connection with the Mitchell Report.

In January this year, Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee refuting the doping allegations of his former trainer.

Last week, McNamees’ lawyers filed a case in Texas wherein they state that their client had been forced to talk to investigators, leaving him no choice but to cooperate. Assistant US Attorney Matthew Parrella supported McNamee’s claim which could make McNamee immune from defamation suit.

Meanwhile, Lara Hollingsworth, one of Clemens’ attorneys, said McNamee should not be immune from the defamation suit.

“(McNamee) was not under court order, he was not under legal compulsion. He talked to Senator Mitchell because it was to his benefit to do so,” Hollingsworth said.

Tuesday 23, Dec 2008

  Brian McNamee says he’s been coerced to testify in Roger Clemens’ steroid case

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clemens-steroidsBrian McNamee, former friend and trainer of Roger Clemens, claims he was coerced by federal agents into identifying the slugger as a steroid user in a 2007 baseball investigation. And if he proves that there was indeed coercion, he may be granted immunity in a defamation suit Clemens has lodged against him, according to Bloomberg.

To back up McNamee’s claim, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella, who is investigating the use of anabolic steroids and other prohibited drugs in the sport, has submitted sworn statements in a Houston federal court Dec.18.  Parrrella said he told McNamee that the former trainer may become a target of investigation if he refused to tell what he knew about Clemens and other players.

“I told McNamee that speaking to the Mitchell Commission was part of his cooperation with the investigation in order to maintain his witness status,’’ Parrella said in his affidavit. “Prior to the interviews with the Mitchell Commission, I informed McNamee that the proffer agreement executed earlier would cover those interviews and that he could also face prosecution’’ if he made false statements to the Mitchell panel.

“He didn’t do it voluntarily, but under the threat of prosecution as part of his agreement with the government,’’ Richard Emery, McNamee’s lawyer said. “He didn’t want to say anything about Clemens. But in order to protect his children, he testified.’’

Clemens filed a lawsuit against McNamee for defamation of character in January this year. Clemens accused his former trainer of lying and ruining the pitcher’s reputation, Clemens also claimed that McNamee’s testimony may ruin his chances of getting elected to the sport’s Hall of Fame.

MLB commissioner had asked former senator George Mitchell to conduct an independent investigation on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the pro baseball. McNamee was among the key witnesses interviewed by the commission. McNamee said he began injecting Clemens with steroids during the 1998 season and that he continued to provide these steroids through 2001.

Saturday 09, Aug 2008

  Shane Mosley says Victor Conte is mostly wrong about his steroid allegations

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Shane Mosley SteroidsChampion boxer Shane Mosley is a fighter by heart and to him quitting is not an option. That philosophy has worked for him in the ring and he hopes it’s going to do him service in the legal arena as well.

Mosley’s defamation suit against Victor Conte and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) has been dismissed in the San Francisco Federal Court and Mosley immediately filed similar suit in a state court in New York.

James Wagstaffe, Conte’s lawyer, said he would file a motion to argue that New York is an improper jurisdiction.

“He’s seeking publicity,” Wagstaffe said of Mosley. “He was facing bad publicity. His suit was about to be thrown out. He’s suing because he wants the world to know he sued. It’s a process case, and at the end of the day, when people bring libel suits to make a point, the truth follows.”

“Shane Mosley is going to soon find out that the truth packs a powerful punch,” said Conte. “I am going to knock him out in a court of law.”

Conte is the founder of BALCO and is now called as the ‘mastermind of the biggest doping ring in the history of sports’. In 2003, the so-called BALCO Affair grabbed international attention because of the status of the personalities that were implicated.

The BALCO Legacy

Numerous professional athletes, including Marion Jones, Bill Romanowski, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, were reportedly supplied with steroids and performance boosters. Subsequently, a federal inquiry took place conducting investigations and procuring evidence against athletes, coaches, trainers, as well as those connected with BALCO.

A couple of those involved in said scandal have been found guilty, mostly of perjury charges.

Marion Jones is currently serving her six-month prison term for perjury involving check fraud case and use of banned compounds.

Trevor Graham, the famed US athletics coach to many elite athletes, including Jones, was convicted in May 2008 of one count of lying to federal investigators.

Conte himself spent four months in prison and another four months under house arrest for one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and a second count of laundering a portion of a check.

In December 2007, The Mitchell Report was released. United States Senator George Mitchell conducted the investigation on the use of steroids and performance-enhancing substances in the Major League.

Mitchell was appointed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the height of the controversy created by the publication of the book Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada in 2006. Williams and Fainaru-Wada were the reporters who exposed the BALCO Affair. Game of Shadows chronicles the use of banned compounds by MLB players, including Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

Of Books and Crooks?

Taking cue from the authors of Game of Shadows Conte is now planning to publish a tell-all book, which includes the allegations he made against Mosley.

It was March 30 this year when it was announced by the New York Daily News that Conte is scheduled to write BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion and What We Can Do to Save Sports.

Mosley’s attorney, Judd Burstein, meanwhile said that they are ready for a legal counter.
“As soon as they publish the book we’re going to sue them the next day,” Burstein said to the Daily News.

According to Burstein, the new suit against Conte demands for at least $2 million in compensatory and at least $10 million in punitive damages. He added that they are ready also to sue the insurance company underwriting Skyhorse Publishing for defamation. Skyhorse is the publisher of Conte’s book.

Conte bared his allegations about Mosley’s doping to the public on March 30, telling several media groups that Mosley was very much in the know of what he was getting from the BALCO founder.

Three days later Mosley sued Conte.

Mosley has repeatedly denied that he has knowingly take steroids and other PEDs. He said he thought the substances he was provided with were legal and healthy compounds. According to Burstein, his client has provided the same statement for the grand jury which was investigating BALCO in 2003.

“Shane’s never denied that he took the stuff,” said Burstein. “He just didn’t know what it was.”

Conte, however, was saying otherwise and offered evidence to support his claim.

Conte said he has calendars that provide vital details about Mosley’s doping protocol. Along with Mosley’s former trainer Derryl Hudson, Conte has filed a sworn affidavit detailing how he directly explained to the boxer that the compounds were steroids and erythropoietin or what is commonly known as EPO. Conte and Hudson had also stated in their affidavits that Conte demonstrated to Mosley how to self-administer EPO.

“This dismissal is proof that the case has no merit,” said Wagstaffe of Mosley’s case in San Francisco. “After we submitted proof that Mr. Conte’s statements were true, Mosley and his attorneys dismissed the California lawsuit.”

Jeff Novitsky, a lead investigator on the BALCO steroid scandal, has also directly implicated Mosley. Novitsky reported that a document found at a BALCO lab indicated that the boxer had received designer steroids known as The Clear and The Cream, which were later identified as tetrahydrogestrinone and testosterone cream, respectively.
Defamation suits en vogue

Defamation suits seem to be the trend nowadays in sports world. Another BALCO-related suit was by that of Roger Clemens against his former trainer Brian McNamee. Clemens and McNamee were two of the most prominent names involved in the BALCO Affair.

In January this year, Clemens filed a defamation complaint against McNamee before the latter was to testify on Clemen’s use of steroids and human growth hormone.

Other athletes outside of the BALCO Affair have also sued for defamation related to doping allegations in recent years. These include cyclists Kayle Leogrande and Lance Armstrong.
Seven-time Tour de France champ Armstrong has been embroiled in numerous defamation suits stemming from doping allegations. He’s been against Britain’s Sunday Times in 2004 when the newspaper reprinted allegations mentioned in the book L. A. Confidentiel – Les secrets de Lance Armstrong.

The book contains the allegations of Armstrong’s former masseuse Emma O’ Reilly who claimed that she had disposed of syringes and disguised needle marks on his arms. Another source of the book was Steve Swart, a teammate of Armstrong during his Motorola days, who alleged that he and Armstrong as well other riders began using steroids in 1995.

Kayle Leogrande, likewise, recently served a defamation case against Suzanne Sonye, a former staff member of Leogrande’s Rock Racing team. Leogrande also filed similar complaint against fellow professional cyclist Matt DeCanio.

The defamation suit resulted from a phone conversation between Sonye and Decanio, in which the former had mentioned that Leogrande was a doper. DeCanio, an anti-doping activist, recorded the conversation and posted it on his website. Leogrande apparently got a temper as colorful as his tattoos and took offense and sue Sonye and DeCanio.