WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) - The star prosecution witness in Roger Clemens’ perjury trial testified on Tuesday that he kept used needles and other drug waste to quiet his wife’s fears that he would “go down” for the pitcher’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former trainer, said he and his wife, Eileen, argued repeatedly about him giving Clemens human growth hormone and anabolic steroids from 1998 to 2001.
McNamee decided to keep the used drug materials, now key prosecution evidence, to show to his wife.
“In the midst of a battle royal, she’d say, ‘You’re going to go down, you’re going to go down,'” McNamee, 45, told jurors in U.S. District Court.
“What would make her not give me a hard time all the time? It had to stop. I brought it (the used drug paraphernalia) home and she stopped. She looked away and that was it.”
“I wanted to be sure my wife knew I had them,” he said. He declined to say why he kept the materials for so many years.
Clemens, 49, is being tried for a second time on federal charges of lying to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball. His first trial ended in a mistrial last year.
The medical waste is a key part of prosecutors’ evidence against Clemens, a record seven-time winner of the annual Cy Young Awards as best pitcher. He is among the biggest names implicated in drug use in baseball.
A former baseball strength coach, McNamee worked with Clemens when the right-hander pitched for the Blue Jays and later with the Yankees. He also worked as Clemens’ personal trainer.
Clemens’ lawyers have called McNamee a liar and were expected to explore his alleged problems with alcohol and scrapes with law enforcement.
Whether the jury believes McNamee will be a major factor in determining the trial’s outcome. He is expected to spend several days on the stand.
McNamee testified he injected Clemens, then with the Yankees, with human growth hormone and anabolic steroids in the summer of 2000 and with anabolic steroids in the summer of 2001.
He typically discarded used needles, vials, broken ampoules and other waste by putting them in a can or plastic bottle and throwing them away.
But after an August 2001 steroid injection session at Clemens’ Manhattan apartment, McNamee put the waste in an empty Miller Lite beer can he found in Clemens’ kitchen. He took the can home to his house in Queens and stored it in a cedar closet.
The trial is starting its fourth week. Clemens faces one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury
Judge Reggie Walton dismissed a second juror for sleeping during testimony. The dismissal trims the jury to 12 jurors and two alternates. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)