Phil Garner said he never suspected drug use by former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens during the three years he managed him on the Houston Astros.
Garner was one of five witnesses who testified today for the defense at Clemens’s perjury trial in Washington federal court. He told jurors that he had known other players who used steroids while managing or playing for other teams.
“Did you ever see anything in the way he conducted himself or how he acted that made you suspect him of using steroids?” Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Clemens, asked.
“I did not,” Garner said.
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 performance-enhancing drugs including steroids and human growth hormone. The ex-New York Yankees pitcher faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted. He denies having used the drugs.
Prosecutors, who rested their case May 29, say Clemens concocted a “web of lies” to hide the fact that he used the drugs to recover from injury as he aged. The indictment contains 15 allegedly false or misleading statements that Clemens made to Congress in 2008. Some statements involved denials of drug use; others had to do with frequency of vitamin B12 injections and whether Clemens attended a pool party at a teammate’s Florida home in 1998.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on May 29 dismissed two of the 15 statements that make up the obstruction charge at Hardin’s request. He said today that he’s considering throwing out another, regarding the 1998 pool party.
The prosecution’s evidence includes a needle and cotton with Clemens’s DNA that tested positive for steroids. The material was given to prosecutors by Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer. McNamee, who spent six days testifying, told jurors that he gave the ballplayer injections of steroids and HGH during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 baseball seasons while both men worked for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Yankees.
McNamee told jurors he saved needles, gauze and vials from one of the injections in 2001 and kept some of the items in a Miller Lite beer can that he took from the recycling bin in Clemens’s apartment.
Clemens’s family physician, Larry Likover, told the jury today that he gave Clemens injections of B12 from 2004 through 2007 “whenever he felt he needed a boost.” He said he also gave Clemens samples of anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx.
“He’s an elite athlete and anything that makes an elite athlete feel better that is legal is good,” Likover testified.
Fanny Gabilanez, a woman who cleaned Clemens’s New York apartment when he pitched for the Yankees, said she never saw any needles, vials or beer in Clemens’s apartment.
She also said she never saw a plastic film canister in his refrigerator. McNamee testified that’s where Clemens kept the HGH he was using in 2000.
Cheryl Redfern, who gave Clemens massages from 1995 through the end of 2003, said she never noticed any acne or saw any change to his upper body over those eight years.
Hardin is also seeking testimony from Eileen McNamee, who is involved in a divorce proceeding with Brian McNamee. Hardin said she’ll discredit the testimony her husband gave.
Prosecutors said today that they would need permission from the U.S. Justice Department before granting her immunity for her testimony.
Michael Gold, a lawyer for Eileen McNamee, said the possible criminal exposure his client faces includes mail and wire fraud, insurance fraud tied to the reimbursement of prescription drugs, bank fraud and obstruction of justice.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).