Key witness in Clemens trial says he mixed evidence
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The key witness in former baseball pitching ace Roger Clemens' perjury trial testified on Friday that evidence he turned over to federal investigators showed Clemens had used performance-enhancing drugs but that it also included items used by other players.
Near the end of a days-long assault on his credibility by the defense, Brian McNamee, Clemens' former trainer, backed away from his courtroom statements that the waste came only from drug use by Clemens, one of baseball's greatest pitchers.
McNamee, who has spent more than 20 hours on the stand in U.S. District Court, turned the medical waste from an alleged injection of anabolic steroids he gave to Clemens in August 2001 over to federal agents in January 2008 as evidence.
The waste included needles, gauze, a broken steroid ampoule and human growth hormone stuffed into a Miller Lite beer can that was stored at McNamee's New York home.
"Yes, sir," McNamee said when defense lawyer Rusty Hardin asked during a marathon cross-examination if all the waste from the beer can showed that Clemens had a steroid shot.
Did the items involve only Clemens "and no one else?" Hardin asked.
"I'm not sure about everyone else," McNamee said. "I just know that there are other things in there that might have belonged to some other players."
Asked how the other items that did not involve Clemens - a capped needle used in subcutaneous injections and vials of human growth hormone - got in the can, McNamee said: "Because I put them there."
McNamee denied he was changing his testimony, saying he had told federal agents and congressional investigators that the evidence included items from other players.
Prosecutors say scientists have linked Clemens' DNA and steroids to one of the syringes in the can. McNamee is the only person with first-hand knowledge about Clemens' alleged use of drugs.
Prosecutors filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to let them to show the jury evidence that McNamee supplied human growth hormone to former New York Yankee teammates Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and other major leaguers.
The prosecutors argued that jurors needed to hear about McNamee's dealings with Clemens' former teammates because of the defense team's attack on McNamee's credibility.
Walton said before McNamee took the stand for redirect questioning that he would have a ruling by Monday. McNamee will return for more testimony on Monday.
The filing said Pettitte, Knoblauch and Stanton told the grand jury that indicted Clemens on six counts of perjury and obstruction that McNamee had told the truth in telling an independent commission investigating drug use in baseball and Justice Department officials that he provided them with growth hormone.
Clemens was known as "The Rocket" during a career that ran from 1984 to 2007. He won the Cy Young Award as best pitcher seven times and is among the biggest names implicated in drug use in baseball.
McNamee worked with Clemens when the right-hander pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and later with the New York Yankees. He also was employed as Clemens' personal trainer.
The trial end its fourth week of slogging courtroom testimony. To pick up the pace, Judge Reggie Walton imposed a 90-minute limit on questioning by prosecutors and by the defense.
Testimony was scheduled to end on June 1 but Walton has moved back the expected termination date to June 8.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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