WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fury that ace pitcher Roger Clemens made his son’s chronic illness public prompted the star witness in Clemens’ perjury trial to hand over stashed medical waste to agents probing drug use in baseball, the witness testified on Tuesday.
Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former trainer, said he fell out with Clemens in January 2008 when the former pitching star played a 17-minute tape of a phone call with McNamee at a Houston news conference.
Clemens had ostensibly made the call to console McNamee over the illness of his son, 10, and they discussed the boy’s ailment as well as McNamee’s involvement in a congressional probe into drug use in Major League Baseball.
McNamee’s son suffered from Type 1 or juvenile diabetes
Clemens had called the news conference to denounce McNamee’s naming him as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.
“I was furious and as soon as I could I drove to my ... home and retrieved the evidence” to turn it over to federal investigators, McNamee, 45, said in U.S. District Court.
McNamee, who wrapped up about 10 hours of testimony for the prosecution, said he had saved some of the medical waste after injecting Clemens, then with the New York Yankees, with anabolic steroids in August 2001.
The needles and other debris were stuffed into a Miller Lite beer can and stored at McNamee’s New York home.
Clemens also asked McNamee to dispose of pills, needles and ampoules when the pitcher was moving from his New York apartment in 2002. Instead, the trainer stashed them along with the medical waste at home, he said.
The drug 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.
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.
During his time on the stand, McNamee testified that he injected Clemens with human growth hormone and anabolic steroids on several occasions between 1998 and 2001.
McNamee, who was subdued and directed his answers to the jury, also said he injected Clemens’ wife Debbie with human growth hormone in 2003 ahead of a Sports Illustrated magazine photo shoot.
Roger Clemens was present when the injection took place in the master bathroom of the couple’s Houston home, McNamee said.
Asked by prosecutor Daniel Butler how it felt, McNamee said: “Creepy. It was my friend’s wife. ... He was my employer so I did what he asked.”
A former baseball strength coach, McNamee worked with Clemens when the right-hander pitched for the Torontoa Blue Jays and later with the Yankees. He also worked as Clemens’ personal trainer.
Clemens’ defense attorney Rusty Hardin, who has called McNamee a liar, launched his cross-examination by asking why McNamee had shown up at a 2010 grand jury hearing wearing a tie with the logo of American Nutrition Center.
McNamee said he had an indirect interest in the company and the tie was later auctioned off. Clemens’ lawyers are expected to explore McNamee’s alleged problems with alcohol and scrapes with law enforcement.
McNamee testified that he had lost clients as a trainer because of the controversy over drugs. Among his most recent jobs was running an after-school baseball program for grade schoolers, he said.
The trial is in its fourth week. Clemens faces one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury
Also on Tuesday, 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 and Todd Eastham