ST. LOUIS — Jack Clark has retained prominent St. Louis attorney Chet Pleban as legal counsel in the wake of former Cardinals icon Albert Pujols' vow to take legal action against him over his recent on-air accusatory comments, and vows an aggressive defense if a suit is filed.
Clark, also a former Cardinals slugger, said at least twice this month on WGNU (920 AM) that Pujols' one-time trainer told him in 2000 that Pujols used steroids. The trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, has denied the allegation.
Clark has reiterated his stance in multiple interviews he has given since the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported on the issue Friday, and released a statement late Tuesday afternoon through Pleban:
"I stand by my previous remarks regarding Pujols and will rigorously defend any lawsuit that he chooses to file. Litigation is an intense fact-finding process and I welcome the opportunity for a jury of 12 unbiased people to judge the credibility of my comments."
Clark and Kevin Slaten, co-host of the WGNU afternoon drive-time show on which the allegations were made, were dismissed at about midnight Saturday morning, approximately two hours after Pujols issued a strongly-worded statement that said in part:
"I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family's name, dragged through the mud. I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU.
"I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person."
Slaten, who is an attorney, said late Tuesday that he plans to file suit no later than the end of the next week against the station and insideSTL Enterprises, LLC, as well as insideSTL president Tim McKernan, regarding his ouster as he contends he did nothing wrong. insideSTL buys the airtime from WGNU on weekdays, when Clark and Slaten appeared, and it has tried to distance itself from Clark via multiple statements and contends that Clark was an independent-contractor and "any opinions, views or statements made by him strictly reflect his own personal views and do not reflect the views of insideSTL. insideSTL Enterprises, LLC and any related companies have never asserted and do not assert that Albert Pujols has ever used steroids or any other type of performing enhancing drug."
WGNU is run by Burt Kaufman, who couldn't be reached for comment.
Slaten said he probably will team with Pleban on his case.
"The petition is all drawn up," he said, adding some details are being finalized.