Prosecutors in the perjury trial of ex-New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens can call witnesses to give testimony that the U.S. says will back drug accusations by Clemens’s former trainer, Brian McNamee, a judge decided.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, ruling from the bench today in Washington, agreed with the government’s contention that the defense had suggested McNamee was motivated to lie when contacted by investigators as part of a probe into the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. The witnesses may be able to rebut the defense’s argument.
The defense has claimed that McNamee started implicating Clemens in 2007 because he thought he faced prosecution and wanted to use allegations against Clemens as a bargaining chip, the U.S. said. Prosecutors say the two witnesses, including former ballplayer David Segui, can show that McNamee began telling people no later than 2004 that Clemens used drugs including human growth hormone.
“The thrust of the examination in this trial on cross- examination was that the motive to fabricate came when Mr. McNamee was under investigation by federal authorities,” Walton said today. “That was the most prominent position the defense took for a motive to fabricate.”
Denies Drug Use
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury stemming from his testimony to a House panel investigating the use of steroids in baseball. He faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted. Clemens has denied having used performance-enhancing drugs.
The witnesses the government wants to put on the stand are Anthony Corso and Segui, a former Major League Baseball player. The defense said in a filing that Corso is a former client of McNamee.
McNamee told Corso at some point from 2002 to 2004 that Clemens used human growth hormone “regularly to recover from vigorous workouts,” according to a court filing by the government. In 2005, McNamee told Corso that he had saved some of the needles he had used to inject Clemens, the prosecutors said in the filing.
Beer Can Evidence
The government’s evidence includes a needle and cotton with Clemens’s DNA that tested positive for anabolic steroids, prosecutors said. That material came from McNamee, who said he saved needles, gauze and vials from one of the injections in 2001. He told jurors he kept some of the items in a Miller Lite beer can that he took from the recycling bin in Clemens’s apartment.
In 2001, McNamee told Segui that he had saved “darts” from players he had injected “in order to placate his wife,” according to the filing.
Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Clemens, argued the testimony shouldn’t be allowed because the defense alleges McNamee had motive to fabricate evidence against Clemens as far back as 2001 when he was fired as assistant strength coach from the Yankees.
The government didn’t say when the witnesses would be called. Yesterday, prosecutors told Walton that Segui, who played for the Baltimore Orioles and six other teams during a 15-year major league career, didn’t want to testify.
“Tell him, if he’s under subpoena he better be here,” Walton said yesterday. “If he’s not here he better be on the run because the marshals will be looking for him.”
Today, prosecutors called to the stand a chemist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who examined the medical waste McNamee turned over to investigators.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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