Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Grimsley meets with prosecutors
By Mike Fish
Former Houston-area gym owner Kelly Blair walked out of a federal courthouse Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., confident that he'd offered up nothing incriminating to a grand jury investigating whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress last year about the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Blair, 39, met with federal prosecutors as well as FBI agents assigned to the Clemens case. Later, just after 1 p.m. ET, he was questioned before the grand jury for an hour by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Durham.
Earlier in the day, the grand jury heard testimony from former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley, a one-time teammate of Clemens'.
Grimsley and his lawyer, Edward Novak, did not comment after spending a little more than an hour meeting with prosecutors.
Blair told ESPN.com that the focus of the questions was whether he supplied performance-enhancing drugs to Clemens or other professional athletes. Blair said he denied doing so, under oath.
"They just asked about my relationship to Roger Clemens," said Blair, who previously owned the suburban Houston gym, 1-on-1 Elite Personal Fitness. "They asked me about Andy Pettitte's father, any ballplayers. Just all the same questions. I think it went really well and I feel really good about it. I wish there was something more exciting to tell."
Blair surfaced in media accounts as a possible link to Clemens soon after the pitching icon and his one-time personal trainer, Brian McNamee, offered conflicting stories in front of a congressional sub-committee about Clemens' alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Grimsley pitched for seven major league teams from 1989 to 2006, and federal agents searched his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., in June 2006. In a statement that year, IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky
said Grimsley implicated nine players -- including Jose Canseco,
Lenny Dykstra and Rafael Palmeiro -- in doping. Clemens was not
among the players named by Grimsley.
According to Novitzky's affidavit, Grimsley said he had been
referred to an amphetamine source by McNamee.
The New York Daily News reported that Clemens' son Koby, a minor league player who has not been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, had been seen training with Blair. The newspaper also identified Blair and his gym as the source of human growth hormone obtained by Pettitte's father, Tom, in 2004.
|Kelly Blair met with federal prosecutors and testified for an hour before a grand jury in Washington, D.C.|
Attorneys for Blair filed a civil lawsuit Monday alleging he was defamed in the book, "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime," which was written by four Daily News reporters.
Most notable among the book's statements that Blair alleges are false are that Blair sold steroids to Clemens and Pettitte, the current New York Yankees pitcher, and that he prepared shipments of drugs intended for other professional athletes.
Blair, who admits to using performance-enhancing drugs in the past and helping procure drugs for bodybuilders, said he denied having any connection to Clemens under oath on Tuesday.
"I told them I didn't have any relationship with him whatsoever," Blair said. "And I have never talked to him or anybody in his whole family. Nobody. I never had any relationship with anybody in his entire family or distant family. Nothing."
As for Pettitte and his father, Blair said: "I said the same thing. I didn't supply Andy Pettitte anything. I didn't supply Tommy Pettitte anything. That was pretty much it, man."
Blair is related to Andy Pettitte by marriage. His sister is married to Pettitte's brother-in-law. The two went to Deer Park High together in Texas; Blair graduated when Pettitte was a sophomore. At one point, Pettitte's father did cardio workouts at Blair's gym.
Tom Pettitte told ESPN.com last year that he tried HGH to improve his "own personal health." Tom Pettitte, 59, underwent open-heart surgery a decade ago and has been on disability ever since.
Blair has admitted that Pettitte's father may have obtained a small amount of HGH from someone connected to his former gym, but denies that he personally was the source.
"They asked me about some other players, too," Blair said. "They asked me about my relationship with Pedro Borbon, because me and Pedro are close and we hang out all the time. But I never supplied Pedro anything."
Pedro Borbon Jr. pitched in the major leagues before retiring in 2003. He played for the Houston Astros, but is best remembered for his time with the Atlanta Braves, where he was part of their 1995 World Series championship team.
"It just went like I hoped," Blair said of his grand jury appearance. "They asked me about some of the former trainers that have worked for me and my relationship with them. Obviously, they were talking about people that ratted me out, said some negative things about me.
"Obviously, their stories and my story don't match up. And they're just not credible sources at all. These people opened their mouth to get to me through the media and little did they know it would get to a federal situation."
Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
They just asked about my relationship to Roger Clemens. They asked me about Andy Pettitte's father, any ballplayers. Just all the same questions. I think it went really well and I feel really good about it. I wish there was something more exciting to tell.
-- Former bodybuilder and gym owner Kelly Blair