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McNamee turned on Clemens over son’s illness
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON — Brian McNamee testified that Roger Clemens‘ lawyers pushed him from reluctant turncoat to angry accuser when they allowed details of McNamee’s oldest son’s illness to be revealed during a nationally televised news conference.
“I was furious,” McNamee told the jury in Clemens‘ perjury trial Tuesday. As soon as he could, McNamee said, he went to his house and retrieved the medical waste he had collected from injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee turned the materials over to his lawyers, who in turn gave the materials to federal law enforcement officials. It’s now the physical evidence prosecutors are using to try to prove Clemens lied to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone.
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.
McNamee claimed that he kept the evidence a secret — even when he was telling investigators about injections he gave to Clemens — in an attempt to minimize the impact on the seven-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher.
But in a televised 2008 news conference, when Clemens‘ lawyers played a taped phone call between the two men that contained references to medical details about McNamee’s oldest son, who was suffering from diabetes, McNamee turned against his friend and client.
“My son was 11 years old at the time,” he said, as Clemens stared from across the room. “It’s beyond inhuman to do that to a kid.”
McNamee, Clemens‘ longtime strength coach, testified Tuesday for a second day, 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 he was pitching for 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.
When McNamee left the courtroom so the parties could discuss an issue out of earshot of him and the jury, Clemens turned and glared at his former coach all the way to the door — a fierce stare he used to deliver from a major league pitcher’s mound.
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