- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — Prosecutors said Wednesday that needles and cotton balls Roger Clemens‘ former trainer says he used to inject the star pitcher tested positive for Clemens‘ DNA and anabolic steroids — evidence the defense said was faked.

Assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham revealed the results during opening arguments in Clemens‘ trial on charges of lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens‘ attorney Rusty Hardin responded that he won’t dispute the needles contain Clemens‘ DNA and steroids, but accused the trainer Brian McNamee of “mixing” it up.

“He manufactured this stuff,” Hardin told jurors. “Roger Clemens‘ only crime was having the poor judgment to stay connected with Brian McNamee.”

Hardin said steroids would have been “incredibly inconsistent with his career and beliefs that there’s no way he would have done it.”

Clemens has said that the only things McNamee ever injected him with were the common local anesthetic lidocaine for his joints and vitamin B-12. But Durham said neither substance was found on the needles or cotton swabbed with his blood stains.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (right) and his attorney Rusty Hardin arrive at federal court in Washington on July 13, 2011, for his perjury trial. (Associated Press)
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (right) and his attorney Rusty ... more >

Hardin told the jury that the government is “horribly wrong” in charging his client with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress. Clad in a dark suit, Clemens watched silently from the defense table with a clenched jaw.

“There was a rush to judgment on Roger that has made it impossible for him to be fairly heard until he got here,” Hardin said in the federal courthouse just a couple blocks from the congressional hearing room where he testified three years ago.

“It’s a fact of life that sometimes when people reach the mountain, there is an unwillingness to give them equal consideration when people come down on them,” Hardin said. “And that’s what happened with Roger.”

Hardin showed the jury an enlarged photo of the country with all the sites where federal agents investigated the case. He said it involved 103 law enforcement officers, five attorneys, 229 investigation reports and 72 investigation locations across the continental United States, Germany and Puerto Rico.

“They still didn’t find anything to connect him with steroids except Brian McNamee,” Hardin said.

Durham, however, said that about 45 witnesses, including several of Clemens‘ former teammates, will help make the case that Clemens used anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. When Clemens denied the use under oath before a House panel in 2008, Durham said, “It was false and he knew it was false.”

Hardin argued that the government’s case essentially rises and falls with McNamee, who the lawyer said has lied repeatedly. “He’s still lying,” Hardin said.

Hardin also said that McNamee lied in a police investigation in Florida in 2001. The trainer was investigated for sexual assault, but Walton had previously instructed Hardin not to discuss specifics of that incident in front of the jury.

Clemens continues to maintain he didn’t use drugs during a 24-season career that set several pitching records. “Roger Clemens has a right to be hurt and mad. He was totally betrayed by a worker he considered a friend,” Hardin said.

Hardin tried to fight the perception that Clemens arrogantly insisted on testifying before Congress and thus put himself in this criminal position. He was not subpoenaed to testify and Hardin says it was “technically true that he voluntarily appeared” though under tremendous pressure.

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