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.