June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Clemens’s wife testified at her husband’s perjury trial that his former trainer Brian McNamee injected her with human growth hormone on an occasion when her husband wasn’t present.
Debbie Clemens, testifying today for the defense in Washington, said McNamee gave her a shot of HGH after she asked him about the drug, having read an article on it in USA Today. Her testimony contradicted McNamee, who told the jury that Roger Clemens knew about the injection, asked McNamee to obtain the drugs and was present for it.
“I’m not ashamed of taking that shot,” she said. “I’m embarrassed it went across the world incorrectly.”
One of the 13 allegedly false or misleading statements that make up the criminal charges against Clemens involved his testimony in a deposition to Congress on his wife’s HGH shot.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in his league, is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes.
He’s also charged with three counts of making false statements and of perjury stemming from his testimony to a House panel. If convicted, he faces as long as 21 months in prison.
Unknown to Husband
Debbie Clemens, who said this was the first time she was speaking publicly about the injection, testified that her husband didn’t know about the shot, which was given in the master bathroom. She said she pulled up her shirt while McNamee gave her the injection in her abdomen.
“It wasn’t really planned,” she said. “It was something that just happened.”
She said she took the shot after reading how celebrities had been using HGH to remain youthful-looking and how the drug was “something healthy and good.”
McNamee was in the kitchen at the time that Debbie Clemens, her mother and some friends discussed the article, she testified. McNamee “talked about it being a good thing,” she said.
A couple of days later, McNamee, who would stay in the Clemens’s pool house during training sessions, came into the kitchen and told her he had HGH, she said.
“Why in the world would you let someone who was not a doctor” inject you?, Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Clemens, asked.
“I was totally comfortable,” she said. “I didn’t know there was anything bad about it at all. I didn’t think it was illegal. I thought it was a useful thing. The only thing I can say is that might have been a foolish moment to believe him at that point.”
She said she told Clemens about the shot when the two spoke on the phone that evening after she had trouble sleeping because her hands were tingling.
“It was never discussed again -- period -- by any of the three parties,” Debbie Clemens said.
Debbie Clemens placed the year of the shot in 2000, about three years earlier than the account given by McNamee.
McNamee said he gave the shot in the bathroom while Roger Clemens stood nearby.
Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski, Debbie Clemens said her husband wasn’t angry with her on learning of about the shot. He was angry with McNamee, she said.
“It wasn’t like I was doing heroin or something crazy,” she said.
Saleski noted that Debbie Clemens’s “laws of life” posted on her website are “plan ahead, be practical and use common sense.”
“Would you say you’re not a risk taker,” Saleski asked.
“I’m pretty conservative,” she said.
While being questioned by Saleski, Debbie Clemens said her family was like a corporation with Roger Clemens being the brand and that they had an “exhausting lifestyle.”
Debbie Clemens expressed irritation when Saleski asked whether she told the ballplayer that she allowed McNamee into the couple’s master bathroom for the injection while he wasn’t at home.
“You told Mr. Clemens that Mr. McNamee put his hands on you?” the prosecutor asked at one point.
“You ever have a child?” Debbie Clemens demanded at another. “Having children is invasive. It was not a big deal.”
One of the jurors, in a question submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, asked why McNamee was staying at the pool house if Clemens wasn’t there.
She said she didn’t monitor when McNamee stayed at the pool house and that her husband could have left that morning.
Under questioning from Hardin and Saleski, Debbie Clemens was also asked whether her family visited the home of Jose Canseco, a teammate of Clemens on the Blue Jays, in June 1998.
Among the false statements in the charges against Clemens is his denying in a congressional deposition that he was at Canseco’s house “on or about” June 9, 1998.
Debbie Clemens said her entire family, including Roger, spent the night at Canseco’s home on June 8. She and her husband played golf the following day while their children remained at the house.
McNamee had earlier testified that Clemens was at a pool party Canseco held at his home for the Blue Jays early in the day on June 9 and that shortly after returning to Toronto, Clemens asked him for help injecting steroids for the first time.
“You and I can agree that if someone said your husband was not at Canseco’s house on June 9, 1998, that would be false because he was there that day,” Saleski asked.
“He was there that day,” she said.
The trial ended its eighth week early today due to a juror’s commitment. Hardin said the defense plans to rest on June 11. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham said the government will put on a rebuttal case that should last less than a day.
Walton said he expects closing arguments to take place no later than June 12.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com