Trainer tells tale of 2 wives, injecting Clemens with HGH

Brian McNamee, former personal trainer to Roger Clemens, has been on the stand for 10 hours.
Brian McNamee, former personal trainer to Roger Clemens, has been on the stand for 10 hours. (MANUEL BALCE CENETA / AP)
Posted: May 17, 2012

WASHINGTON - Amid his year-by-year narrative of his complex relationship with Roger Clemens and performance-enhancing drugs, Brian McNamee weaved in a tale of two wives. He said it was his own wife who nagged him into keeping evidence that has become crucial in the trial of the storied pitcher, and it was a request from Clemens' wife that led to what McNamee called a "creepy" injection scene in a bathroom.

Clemens' personal trainer testified Tuesday for a second day in the perjury trial, pushing his running total to roughly 10 hours on the stand, including the first few moments of what portends to be a grueling cross-examination that will continue Wednesday.

The broad outline was familiar from McNamee's previous statements: He said he injected Clemens with steroids and human-growth hormone in 2000 and with steroids in 2001, and he gave Debbie Clemens a shot of HGH in 2003. That was in addition to the testimony he gave Monday, when he spoke of a series of steroids injections he said he gave Clemens in 1998, when the pitcher was with the Toronto Blue Jays.

He went on to describe his marital problems, money problems and the legal mess that came about when he got entangled in the federal drugs-in-sports investigation that led him to become a reluctant but cooperating witness against one of the most successful baseball players of all time.

"It destroyed me. It killed me. . . . I put myself in a situation where I had to do this," McNamee said. "I had to tell the truth."

Some details were new and fascinating, especially hearing them spoken out loud in a courtroom with Clemens sitting a few feet away. At one dramatic point, the adversaries were actually both standing, when McNamee rose from the witness stand and identified Clemens with an outstretched left arm: "He's right there with the brown tie." Clemens looked straight at McNamee, stone-faced and silent.

McNamee is the government's key witness, the only person who will claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens taking performance-enhancing drugs. The former baseball great is accused of lying when he told Congress in 2008 that he had never used steroids or HGH.

McNamee said he thought he kept the needle, swab and cotton ball from a steroids injection he said took place in Clemens' New York City apartment in 2001, because McNamee's wife was convinced the trainer would become the fall guy.

He said he put the items in a beer can that he salvaged from the recycling bin in Clemens' kitchen - a means of protecting the used needle from accidently stabbing himself - and brought the can home. It was put in a FedEx box and kept in the house, an effort to "keep the home front nice and smooth," McNamee said.

Years later, McNamee and his wife began divorce proceedings, which are ongoing.

McNamee said he kept the evidence a secret - even when he was telling investigators about injections he gave pro baseball players - because he was hoping he could minimize the impact on Clemens. It wasn't until 2008, after McNamee was angered by a news conference at which Clemens' lawyers played a taped phone call that contained medical details about McNamee's oldest son, that McNamee retrieved his collection of medical waste and turned it in.

The prosecution is expected to show that the evidence contains Clemens' DNA. The defense has called the evidence "garbage" and is expected to claim it is tainted.

The defense is expected to attack McNamee's integrity and motives.

The government tried to preempt such questions by having its witness refer to several less-than-savory incidents. McNamee referenced false statements he gave to police during an investigation in Florida in 2001, and he spoke of financial worries resulting from a failed investment in a proposed new gym and his inability to find steady work after his name became publicly linked to steroids and HGH.

The trial is in its fifth week, and the tedium cost the proceedings another member of the jury. Juror No. 1, a supermarket cashier, became the second member of the panel to be dismissed for sleeping. Her departure leaves 14 jurors, including two alternates.

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