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Brian McNamee, the government’s only eyewitness to Roger Clemens’s alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, was permitted to name other former New York Yankees who allegedly used human growth hormone.
McNamee, testifying for a sixth day in the star pitcher’s perjury trial, told jurors that he provided human growth hormone, or HGH, to Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch. He also said he helped Mike Stanton obtain the drug.
A needle used by Knoblauch was in the Miller Lite beer can McNamee gave to investigators that also allegedly contained medical waste from Clemens, he said today in Washington.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who earlier ruled out such testimony as too prejudicial to Clemens, changed his mind today, accepting the government’s argument that McNamee’s cross- examination “opened the door” to evidence showing the former trainer’s cooperation with prosecutors involved additional ballplayers. He told jurors that they may consider the information when assessing McNamee’s credibility.
“You cannot infer Mr. Clemens is guilty merely because he said other ballplayers used these substances and he provided these substances to them,” Walton told the jury.
A December 2007 report by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell said performance-enhancing drugs were widespread in Major League Baseball. The report named almost 90 players including former New York Yankees teammates Clemens, Pettitte, Stanton and Knoblauch.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, 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 the use of steroids in baseball. He faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted. Clemens has denied having used drugs.
McNamee, Clemens’s former personal trainer, has testified that he gave the ballplayer injections of steroids and HGH during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 baseball seasons while both men worked for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Yankees.
The government’s case includes a needle and cotton with Clemens’s DNA that tested positive for anabolic steroids, prosecutors said.
That material came from McNamee, who said he saved needles, gauze and vials from one of the injections in 2001. He told jurors he kept some of the items in a Miller Lite beer can that he took from the recycling bin in Clemens’s apartment.
Prosecutors today sought to show jurors that McNamee didn’t try to hide information or evidence from the government. McNamee today said that he told law enforcement that there was more than one player’s medical waste in the material he gave to them in 2008.
Last week, under questioning from Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, McNamee said that some of the medical waste he preserved from an injection he gave Clemens was mixed with needles used on other baseball players. One of the needles found in the beer can was a smaller, diabetic-type syringe, not used for intramuscular injections of steroids.
“Whose needle would that have been?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler asked.
“Another player’s possibly,” McNamee said.
“Do you know who that player is?” Butler said.
“I believe it was Chuck Knoblauch’s growth hormone,” he said.
Butler also asked McNamee whether investigators ever told him that his own blood was found on any of the medical waste. He said they hadn’t.
Once the government finished with McNamee members of the jury were able to ask questions.
The questions, submitted in writing and approved by Walton, included: Did McNamee use gloves when injecting Clemens? Did he believe steroids and HGH would strengthen a player? Why did he keep evidence after giving an injection? And had he had met with investigators before signing “a proffer” giving him some immunity from prosecution?
He was also asked by the jury about whether he himself had used steroids or HGH. McNamee said he’d used steroids for a shoulder injury and that he used growth hormone in 2004 for a hand injury.
“For what purpose?” Walton asked.
“I cut my finger off,” McNamee said.
After McNamee, the government called Manny Manuele, a manager at MillerCoors LLC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to testify about the age of the beer can containing medical waste.
Using the coding stamped on the bottom of the can, Manuele said the Miller Lite can McNamee gave to federal investigators was filled by a facility in North Carolina and was put on the market in early August 2001 -- around the time McNamee said he took it from Clemens’s recycling bin. New York is among the states the North Carolina facility ships to, he said.
The government put on two additional witnesses before the end of the day. The trial will resume in the afternoon of May 23.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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