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The trainer for Roger Clemens who told Congress he injected the former New York Yankees pitcher with performance enhancing drugs said the treatments began when Clemens sought help administering a shot of anabolic steroids.
“We were talking and he asked me in passing if I could help him out with a booty shot,” Brian McNamee said while testifying for the prosecution yesterday during Clemens’s perjury trial in Washington.
McNamee, 45, the government’s only eyewitness to Clemens’s alleged drug use, said he assisted with the shot, which he said occurred in the SkyDome hotel where Clemens was living during the 1998 season while both worked for the Toronto Blue Jays.
After the first shot, Clemens doubled the dosage for each additional steroid injections that summer, which totaled from eight to 10, McNamee said. He told the jury that the injections ceased that year after Clemens began treatment by team doctors for an abscess on his buttocks.
“At the time I didn’t feel good about what I was doing,” said McNamee, who was then the Blue Jays strength and conditioning coordinator. “On the flipside, I wanted to help. I knew what I was doing was illegal. I did what I was asked and I made a mistake. I wish I could take it back. I was young.”
Clemens provided all the drugs, McNamee said. He described two instances in 1998 in which Clemens arrived at his locker in Toronto with a bag containing bottles of steroids that he asked him to dispose of.
Clemens, 49, who pitched for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros during a 24-year career, used the anabolic steroids and human growth hormone, or HGH, to remain competitive as he aged, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham said in his opening statement as the trial began on April 23.
Earlier yesterday, McNamee testified that he quickly developed a friendship with Clemens after joining the Blue Jays in 1998. During spring training that year Clemens gave him a $1,000 tip and later let him live in one of his rooms at the stadium’s hotel.
“I think we had the same intensity levels,” McNamee said.
McNamee was hired by the Blue Jays after a stint with the Yankees where he warmed up pitchers as a so-called bullpen catcher. Before that, he was a New York City police officer.
When Clemens joined the Yankees in 1999, he convinced then- team owner George Steinbrenner to hire McNamee as the team’s assistant strength coach the following year, according to testimony from Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager. In the offseason, McNamee trained Clemens and other Major League Baseball players, such as Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte, at Clemens home in Houston.
McNamee said the Yankees paid him $30,000 a year and Clemens paid him about $50,000.
McNamee is due back on the stand today.
The government’s case against Clemens includes a needle and cotton balls exhibiting Clemens’s DNA that tested positive for anabolic steroids, Durham said. McNamee kept the items in a Miller Lite beer can for about seven years before turning them over to federal investigators, he said.
Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, argued in opening statements that McNamee sought money and fame by making accusations against the seven-time Cy Young Award winner. He told jurors that McNamee manipulated the government’s physical evidence and an expert will testify it’s easy to add DNA to a needle that has never been used in an injection.
Clemens is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury stemming from his testimony to a House panel investigating use of steroids in Major League Baseball. He faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted.
McNamee told jurors that he was a catcher for the baseball team at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. After college, he tried out to play for the Chicago White Sox.
“I didn’t play well so they sent me home,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the defense may question McNamee about an incident he described in an unpublished manuscript: McNamee wrote that he once placed a beer can in the hand of a woman found dead in a New York City apartment.
McNamee falsely told a supervisor at the scene that he didn’t touch anything in the apartment, according to a court filing by the government that seeks to keep that information from the jury.
Walton also ruled yesterday that the jury can consider testimony from Pettitte regarding a conversation he and Clemens had about HGH more than 10 years ago. The defense sought to have the testimony thrown out after Pettitte, under questioning by Clemens’s lawyer, said there was a 50 percent chance he misunderstood Clemens’s alleged admission to using HGH.
Clemens has denied drug use since former Senator George Mitchell, acting as a special investigator for Major League Baseball, released a report on steroid use among professional ballplayers on Dec. 13, 2007. Mitchell named Clemens in the report as having used drugs on at least 16 occasions between 1998 and 2001.
Clemens, who says he was injected by McNamee, said he thought he was receiving vitamins and permissible drugs.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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