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Friday, January 30, 2009
Report: Syringes from trainer tested

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The country's leading doping lab is testing syringes and vials Roger Clemens' former personal trainer gave federal investigators to determine whether the items contain traces of performance-enhancing drugs, a person close to the case told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing into whether Clemens lied under oath to Congress last year when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone.

Prosecutors have asked a federal grand jury in Washington to decide whether to indict the seven-time Cy Young Award winner. The trainer, Brian McNamee, has told federal agents, baseball investigator George Mitchell and a House of Representatives committee that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and HGH from 1998-2001.

Now, according to the person close to the case, the world-renowned UCLA Olympic doping lab -- where the "clear" and the "cream" of BALCO infamy first were uncovered -- has in hand the physical evidence McNamee turned over to federal prosecutors in early 2008 that his side says will link Clemens to drug use.

UCLA declined the AP's request to speak to the head of the lab.

"Regardless of who the client is, the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab can't reveal anything due to test subject confidentiality," senior media relations officer Elaine Schmidt wrote in an e-mail.

For the items to play a role in the case -- to help settle the he-said, he-said between Clemens and McNamee -- investigators must know what, exactly, is on them.

McNamee's lawyers said last year the material included vials of testosterone and unused needles Clemens gave to McNamee. They also said they turned over needles used to inject Clemens -- needles that were contained in a beer can McNamee says was removed from the trash at the pitcher's New York apartment in 2001 -- and gauze used to wipe blood off Clemens after a shot.

At the time, Clemens' camp called it "manufactured" evidence, while McNamee's side said the items were thrown in a box by McNamee and kept for years in case he needed to "protect himself" somewhere down the line.

"The defendants will undoubtedly claim it was tampered with. But the jury will decide whether that's true or not," one of McNamee's lawyers, Richard Emery, said in a telephone interview Friday. "I don't think there's any doubt that it'll be admitted in the case, assuming that it reveals that Clemens' DNA is mixed with steroids or HGH."

McNamee and his lawyers have given DNA samples to federal investigators. It's not clear whether federal authorities have a DNA sample from Clemens.

Asked to comment on the UCLA lab's role, Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said through a spokesman: "We're happy that they're using such great resources, but it doesn't matter. Because at the end of the day, this is just a bunch of junk that was put together in a dark, dusty basement years ago by McNamee."