The judge presiding over the Roger Clemens perjury prosecution in Washington today ordered a team of DLA Piper lawyers to show up for a closed-door hearing to review internal documents the former baseball pitcher wants to review as he builds his defense.
Judge Reggie Walton of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said he wants to hear from current DLA Piper lawyers who participated in the firm's review of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. DLA Piper in December 2007 issued a lengthy report, named after then-chairman George Mitchell, about drug use in baseball.
DLA Piper attorneys contend the attorney work-product doctrine shields the firm’s internal documents from disclosure. Clemens’ defense attorneys, including Houston’s Russell Hardin Jr., argue the documents have no such protection and should be produced.
The defense lawyers specifically want DLA Piper memos and interview notes concerning the statements of Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee and those of Kirk Radomski, a former Mets employee who pleaded guilty to distributing performance-enhancing drugs to ballplayers.
Clemens was charged in August in Washington federal district court with perjury and other crimes tied to testimony he provided to a House committee in February 2008. Central to his defense are alleged inconsistent statements among potential government witnesses.
DLA Piper urged Walton to quash a defense subpoena. Last month, following a hearing on the issue, Walton ordered DLA Piper to turn over the disputed documents to allow the judge to review the material in chambers.
Walton said his first task was to determine whether the documents are “opinion work product” or “fact work product.” The judge said he would not compel the law firm to turn over the documents if the information was, in fact, “opinion.”
Walton said in today’s order (PDF) that he wants more information from the DLA Piper lawyers who were involved in the steroids probe, including partners Charles Scheeler, John Clarke Jr. and Brett Ingerman, as he assesses the context in which the memos were created.
The judge set the ex parte hearing for June 8. Walton said closure of the hearing is appropriate because the DLA Piper lawyers “will likely be required to reveal their mental impressions and their internal practices in creating these materials.”