McNamee explains why he saved evidence
Former trainer says at Clemens trial that it was at wife's urging
WASHINGTON -- Asked to identify the defendant as he began a second day of testimony Tuesday, Brian McNamee stood up at the witness stand, extended his arm and pointed at Roger Clemens, the two men seeming to lock eyes for a few moments.From that dramatic moment forward, the chief accuser in the federal perjury trial of Clemens continued to tell his account of injecting Clemens with steroids and human-growth hormone, moving through the time period when both were employed by the Yankees in 2000 and '01 -- Clemens as the star pitcher and McNamee as the assistant strength and conditioning coach, whose primary focus was Clemens' fitness. By the end of the day, the 14 members of the jury panel who remain after a second juror was dismissed for sleeping on duty, heard McNamee explain why he kept for several years physical evidence the government says proves Clemens used steroids and HGH. McNamee testified that, from a day in the summer of 2001 until January 2008, he kept medical waste and other evidence in a beer can stored inside a mailing box at his home in the Breezy Point section of Queens. Those materials eventually would become key evidence for this trial -- materials he initially withheld from federal agents and investigators for the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs. "I wasn't giving it up," McNamee said. "It was the last thing I had to hold onto to not hurt [Clemens] as bad as I already had." McNamee said his decision to turn it over to federal agents in January 2008 came after Clemens played a secretly recorded conversation between the two men during a televised press conference following the release of the Mitchell Report, which named Clemens as a user of steroids and HGH based on information from McNamee. Included in the conversation were references to medical issues McNamee's eldest son, also named Brian, was facing with diabetes and other possible health complications. Stating it was "beyond inhuman to do to a kid," McNamee admitted he was "furious" that his son's medical condition came into national view, and he took the items to his lawyer's office the next morning. "I had it and I didn't want to give it up, but I gave it up because of what he did to my son," McNamee said. By the end of his second day on the stand, McNamee had completed about 10 hours of direct testimony for the government under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler. Defense attorney Rusty Hardin got in about 15 minutes of what promises to be contentious cross-examination before court went into recess for the day. Clemens is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress related to his testimony during a Feb. 13, 2008, hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a Feb. 5, 2008, deposition conducted by committee staff members. Clemens said at the hearing, "Let me be clear: I have never used steroids or HGH." McNamee said at that same hearing that he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs on numerous occasions. He'd also saved vials and ampules containing steroids and HGH, used and unused needles and syringes, and three cotton balls, one appearing to be stained with three blood spots -- all kept in a 16-ounce beer can inside a FedEx box at his house for almost seven years. As the trial reached its 16th day of proceedings and continued its fifth week, the jury that will decide the case lost another member of the panel. Judge Reggie Walton dismissed, over an objection from the defense, Juror No. 1 -- a single woman who worked as a supermarket cashier the past five years -- for sleeping during the trial, just as had been the case last week when another member of the panel was dismissed. The panel now includes 12 jurors who will decide the case and two alternates -- with none of the 14 knowing which group he or she is in. During his testimony, McNamee mentioned Andy Pettitte several times, drawing defense objections and a warning from Walton to government attorneys to make him stop because Walton had ruled such references to amount to guilt by association. But the main thrust of McNamee's testimony was the physical evidence and his explanation of why he kept it, testimony that intertwined with McNamee's failing marriage. McNamee explained to the jury how in 2000 and 2001 he would go to Clemens' Manhattan apartment to inject the pitcher with performance-enhancing drugs at Clemens' request, much as he had done in Toronto, per his Monday testimony. McNamee testified that the reason he brought home the beer can full of medical waste was to show his wife what he was doing, because his absence from the house while devoting time to training Clemens was causing friction in their household. Butler led McNamee through a narrative of how he grabbed a beer can out of Clemens' recycling bin under the sink of his Manhattan apartment and put the items in there, showing his wife, who was still awake past midnight, when he got home. He said his motivation was to make her stop asking him all the time why family events had to be canceled because McNamee had to work with Clemens. "What would make it stop? It had to stop," McNamee said, saying he showed it to her in their kitchen before he took the items and put them in a FedEx box he marked "Clem." McNamee said his wife kept telling him in one of their "battle royale" arguments, "You're going to go down if something happens," and McNamee admitted he had a track record of "taking hits" for people in the past. "I bought into it a little bit, that she might be right," McNamee said, so he sealed it up in a FedEx box and put it in a cedar closet in his basement. McNamee said he later moved it to another FedEx box and put it behind a dresser in their bedroom's walk-in closet, where he said it stayed until the morning after the press conference that included the recording referencing his son. McNamee gave it to his lawyer, Richard Emery, before they handed it over to federal authorities in January 2008, about a month before the Congressional hearings. McNamee also testified about the HGH injection he gave to Clemens' wife, Debbie. Roger Clemens testified before Congress that he was not present when that occurred, sometime around 2003, but McNamee gave a much different account. He testified that Clemens was right there in the master bathroom when McNamee reached around from behind, pinched part of Debbie Clemens' abdomen and injected her with half the dose he'd been giving to Roger Clemens. "He injects me, why shouldn't he inject you?" McNamee said Clemens told his wife. How did that all make McNamee feel?
"Creepy," he said, explaining that he wouldn't be alone with his friend and employer's wife in the couple's master bedroom without Clemens present.McNamee also talked about lidocaine, testifying, "No, [Clemens] never talked to me about lidocaine at all." He also testified that he "never, ever injected anyone with liquid vitamin B12."
Clemens testified before Congress that McNamee injected him with lidocaine and B12, not steroids and HGH.Butler's direct examination touched briefly on several incidents toward the end of McNamee's employment with the Yankees and two subsequent incidents in which McNamee was cited for driving under the influence. Butler also asked McNamee to explain why he had worn a tie with the logo of American Nutrition Center, a supplements company, to his grand-jury appearance in 2010. "I needed a tie," McNamee responded. Hardin, who had referenced the tie during his opening statement, displayed a photo of McNamee wearing the tie early in his cross, suggesting McNamee had a financial interest in the company and knew photographers would be outside the courthouse. Hardin established that the company is linked with the same people who ran SportsImproper.com, a website McNamee tried to start with some friends in recent years, with no success. After asking McNamee several times if he was "subdued" during his direct testimony, Hardin showed jurors a photo depicting McNamee roaring with laughter while appearing on the Howard Stern radio show. "That's a little more raucous than you've been here the last couple of days, isn't it?" Hardin asked. That raised a government objection that the photo is prejudicial, and that issue will be addressed in full Wednesday morning when court reconvenes.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.