WASHINGTON – House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman blasted comments in Sunday's New York Times attributed to the attorney of all-star pitcher Roger Clemens.
Waxman, who is holding a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Wednesday on steroid abuse in Major League Baseball, said Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin shouldn't be trying to intimidate a federal law enforcement agent.
The Times quoted Hardin as saying it would be "unbelievable" and "brazen" for federal agent Jeff Novitzky to appear in the audience at the hearing in which Clemens is supposed to testify publicly on whether he illegally doped up with performance-enhancing drugs.
Novitzky helped to turn former trainers Brian McNamee and Kirk Radomski into federal informants for the baseball probe. Much of the information fingering Clemens and former teammate Andy Pettitte as abusing steroids — revealed in former Sen. George Mitchell's investigative report for Congress — rests on information from McNamee and Radomski.
Hardin told the Times that if Novitzky ever "messes with Roger (Clemens), Roger will eat his lunch."
The Times report apparently lit a fire under Waxman, who suggested Hardin was trying to intimidate a federal officer. Waxman wrote a letter to Hardin telling him that it is not up to Clemens or Hardin as to gets to attend the hearing.
"Some of the previous comments by both you and the attorneys representing Mr. McNamee in recent weeks have struck me as inadvisable but I have refrained from making any comment. If today's quotation is accurate, however, it goes beyond any personal enmity that exists between Roger Clemens and Mr. McNamee," Waxman wrote, adding that he has no idea if Novitzky will attend the hearing because "as an independent branch of government, our inquiry operates independently of the executive branch."
"Given your long service as both a prosecutor and a private attorney, I trust you did not intend your comments to be a signal that there could be adverse repercussions to a federal law enforcement official for attending the hearing or taking other official actions. I would urge you to clarify the record at your earliest convenience," Waxman concluded.
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.