A U.S. District judge in Houston dismissed most of Roger Clemens' defamation lawsuit against his former personal trainer Brian McNamee Thursday, agreeing that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear most of the case and that McNamee's conversations with George Mitchell were protected by his immunity deal with the government.
Judge Keith P. Ellison agreed that because McNamee accused Clemens of using HGH and steroids while he was in New York speaking to Mitchell and then repeated the accusations to SI.com reporter Jon Heyman, who is also in New York, the Southern District in Houston does not have jurisdiction.
Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, did not immediately return a call or e-mail for comment, but the decision apparently leaves Clemens with the option of filing a suit in New York.
Ellison let stand Clemens' complaint that McNamee defamed him when he told Andy Pettitte on two occasions that Clemens had used HGH and steroids. Pettitte, however, has already testified under oath before congressional investigators that McNamee was telling the truth and presumably would do so again if called to testify.
"We got almost exactly what we wanted," said Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys. "This lawsuit was always a cheap public relations ploy anyway. It's a well-written, well-reasoned decision."
As for the portion of the lawsuit that may proceed in Houston, Ward said, "We look forward to litigating that and deposing Andy Pettitte. Truth is an absolute defense and we have truth on our side."
T.J. Quinn is an investigative reporter for ESPN's enterprise unit.