There’s some bad news and some good news for baseball star Roger Clemens.
Back in 2008, before he was to testify in congressional hearings about steroid abuse, Clemens hired Covington & Burling partner Lanny Breuer to steer him through the process.
The good news is that with a federal investigation under way into whether Clemens committed perjury when he denied past steroid use during the hearings last year, he’ll have two powerful advocates from Covington in positions of power at the Justice Department. The bad news is that both newly named Attorney General Eric Holder and Breuer, who has been chosen to head the criminal division, will be required to recuse themselves from any discussions about the Clemens case.
Breuer, who masterminded a favorable plea bargain for Clinton-era national-security adviser Sandy Berger, is not immediately replaceable to help Clemens. Covington has one of the city’s largest sports practices, but it’s mostly geared to representing the football and hockey leagues rather than players. And Covington’s top white-collar defense attorney, Bruce Baird, is said to be busy with complicated finance-related cases.
Nor will Clemens be able to hire anyone at DLA Piper, whose chair emeritus, George Mitchell, wrote the report for baseball concluding that Clemens did use steroids.
Another attorney for Clemens to avoid is Akin Gump’s John Dowd. He worked for Major League Baseball on the Pete Rose case and has remained one of the staunchest opponents of Rose’s being admitted to the Hall of Fame.
The most simpatico big-name defense attorney might be Brendan Sullivan, the famed “I’m not a potted plant” lawyer from Williams & Connolly. One of Sullivan’s sons was a minor-league pitcher in the San Diego Padres organization.
This article is from the March 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from the issue, click here.