Lawyers for McNamee intend to capitalize on allegations of Clemens' affair

NEW YORK -- Saying "all is fair game," lawyers for Roger Clemens' former personal trainer Brian McNamee say they intend to capitalize on allegations of an extramarital affair involving Clemens and a country music singer in defending a defamation suit Clemens filed against McNamee.

The New York Daily News, citing "several" unnamed sources, reported on its Web site Sunday night that Clemens and country singer Mindy McCready had a decade-long affair. Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Clemens and McCready had a friendship and nothing more.

"I cannot refute anything in the story," McCready told the newspaper in a story posted on its Web site Monday night.

"I have known Roger Clemens for a long time," she said, without detailing the nature of their relationship.

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, confirmed the pitcher and singer had known each other for a long time but told the newspaper there was no sex.

"Mindy McCready is a longtime family friend of Roger Clemens and the Clemens family," Hardin said in a statement Monday. "At no time did Roger engage in any kind of inappropriate or improper relationship with her. It is unfortunate that the Daily News has chosen to report anonymous allegations that are completely unfounded, have no basis in fact, and have nothing to do with Roger's baseball career or the issue of steroid use in baseball."

The News' original story, which appeared on the newspaper's Web site Sunday night and in editions Monday, quoted several people who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

"If true, it's just another example of Roger's pervasive prevarications which will be at the core of any defamation case," said McNamee's attorney, Richard Emery, in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee on Jan. 6. Clemens is under investigation for perjury relating to his testimony before Congress earlier this year involving the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"The issue in Roger's suit against McNamee is Roger's reputation and how it has been damaged," Emery said, according to the Daily News. "If it's proved that he's a philanderer, his reputation is already damaged. When you sue for defamation, you put your whole reputation in the community at issue. Anything is fair game, including his claim of sanctimonious purity. We would cross-examine him and other witnesses who might impact on his alleged behavior. We would probably subpoena her and witnesses who knew [of the relationship]. He's a 'family man' -- he implies that. It's about what his damages are. All is fair game."

"If the case heads to trial and is not dismissed, as we feel it should be, we will be calling [McCready] as a witness," Emery added.

The allegations, according to the Daily News, claim Clemens was 28 when he first had contact with McCready. She was 15 when he noticed her at a Fort Myers, Fla., bar while out with his Red Sox teammates, according to the Daily News.

In its story Monday night, sources told the Daily News that McCready went with Clemens to his hotel room in Fort Myers, Fla., after their first meeting but that they did not have sex. The relationship turned intimate after she later moved to Nashville and became a country star, the paper said.

McCready is attempting a comeback after seeing her career hit the skids after her first album went platinum. She was arrested for prescription fraud in 2004, according to the Daily News, and had a son with aspiring singer Billy McKnight.

A documentary on her life is scheduled to begin filming in Nashville, according to the Daily News. A new album and reality show are also planned.

"She's trying to get back to where she was early in her career," said Michael Fancher, the president of Iconic Records who is the executive producer on McCready's "Fallen Angel" documentary and her "Mending Mindy" reality series. "She's a great person, and this will help her get back in the good graces with the industry."

According to the Daily News, McCready and Clemens traveled together and she attended a game at Yankee Stadium at one point. She and other members of her family also flew on a plane provided by Clemens, according to the Daily News and Hardin.

Hardin told the Daily News that Clemens' wife, Debbie, knew McCready. The Daily News, without citing a source, said McNamee "has confirmed that he saw Clemens and McCready together on many occasions."

The Daily News said Clemens sent cash to McCready to help her with legal issues and reached out to her when she was in jail last year in Tennessee for violating probation after allegedly hitting her mother.

Clemens told Congress on Feb. 13 that his family has been vital to him during his career.

"Anyone who has spent time around me knows that my family is and has always been my top priority," it said in a portion of the opening statement he delivered. "My wife, Debbie, and my sons -- Koby, Kory, Kacy and Kody -- mean more to me than anything in the world."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report