Witness: Roger Clemens at party
WASHINGTON -- A man testified Monday that he saw Roger Clemens at a 1998 Jose Canseco pool party that the former pitcher has denied attending, which is one of the false statements prosecutors allege Clemens made in his 2008 congressional deposition.
Prosecutors showed jurors a photo of the then 11-year-old Alexander Lowrey on the deck of the pool, next to a smiling Clemens who is standing in the shallow end of the water.
The former pitcher's hair is bleach-blonde, which is how Lowrey said he recalled it.
Lowrey, now 25, said he had been invited to the party in south Florida by a handyman who worked for his family's business as well as Canseco. At the time, Clemens and Canseco were teammates with the Toronto Blue Jays. Lowrey said he played baseball back then and looked up to Clemens as "one of the best pitchers in the game."
Brian McNamee, Clemens' longtime strength and conditioning coach, has testified that he overheard a conversation that season between Clemens and Canseco about steroids in the Blue Jays clubhouse.
McNamee claims he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001; Clemens' denials of those claims at a 2008 House hearing and deposition led to his indictment for lying to Congress.
The government's case got a needed boost as it hit the homestretch Monday in the sixth week of the perjury trial that will determine whether Clemens lied to Congress in 2008 when the 11-time All-Star pitcher denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I never was at the party," Clemens says in his congressional deposition. Later, he says, "I wasn't here at this -- at a party that he had. I could have gone by there after a golf outing. So -- but I was not at this party." Clemens' lawyers have said that Clemens was golfing that day.
Earlier Monday, McNamee testified about three other baseball players who he said took human growth hormone.
McNamee also apologized for the medical condition that caused him to take frequent breaks. He came across as a sympathy figure in the final moments of some 26 hours on the stand, a small counterweight to three days of brutal cross-examination.
McNamee is the only person to claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens using steroids and human growth hormone, and his integrity and credibility were attacked relentlessly last week by Clemens' lawyer. The government embarked on a rehabilitation job with its key witness during follow-up questioning Monday, then moved on to a beer expert who put a date on the infamous Miller Lite can that became a key piece of evidence.
Lawyers indicated to the judge that the government might wrap up its case this week, even though Tuesday will be a day off because of a conflict with U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton's schedule. Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin then said he would need seven or eight working days to present the defense's case. Both sides are working to finish before June 8, when further conflicts with Walton's schedule could cause the trial to go on recess for a month.
Before Monday, McNamee had not been allowed to say that he provided former Clemens teammates Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch with human growth hormone, or that he helped ex-Clemens teammate Mike Stanton obtain HGH from drug dealer Kirk Radomski. The judge had ruled that such information could prejudice the jury against Clemens.
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But Hardin's grueling cross-examination tipped the balance in the other direction, prosecutors argued. Hardin suggested before the jury last week that McNamee had solely or primarily targeted Clemens, and that no one had been charged in connection with McNamee's accusations, raising the issue of McNamee's credibility.
Walton therefore ruled that McNamee could name Knoblauch and Stanton as receiving HGH in 2001 when they were with the New York Yankees, and Pettitte in 2002 when he was with the Yankees. The judge instructed the jury that the names could only be used to help establish McNamee's "credibility as a witness" and cannot be used to "infer Mr. Clemens' guilt."
The government took full advantage, with prosecutor Daniel Butler using all three names repeatedly. McNamee said he was present when all three players used their HGH. Pettitte already has testified that he used HGH in 2002, so now the jury knows that McNamee was the source.
On Tuesday, prosecutors sought to add additional information from McNamee. In a motion, they asked Walton to allow the admission of three statements McNamee made from 2001 to 2005 in which the strength coach told people he saved needles used to inject Clemens; had saved "darts" from players he had injected to placate his wife; and that Clemens had used HGH. Prosecutors say the statements should be allowed to rebut defense claims that McNamee fabricated allegations and evidence to avoid prosecution or gain fame and fortune.
Butler also worked in quick time to build all the sympathy he could for McNamee. The jury had heard last week that McNamee has a medical condition that he wanted to keep secret, but now he revealed what it is: He is a Type 1 diabetic who uses an insulin pump, particularly when under stress. He then looked at the jury and apologized for the extra breaks.
McNamee also said "I lost my job, lost my clients" after he and Clemens were cited in the 2007 Mitchell report on drugs in baseball. McNamee said he was led to believe that the report would not contain names when he began cooperating with its investigators. He cited his lack of work, saying the only athletes he trains now are two college students who don't pay him.
McNamee also said his marriage is over, in part due to the fallout from the Clemens case. He is going through a contentious divorce, and he said he sees his children only twice a week and that it will be "rocky road" to rebuild his relationship with them.
While the defense got McNamee to acknowledge that parts of his story have changed over time, he has not deviated from the core of his testimony -- that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing substances in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
With McNamee finished after five-plus days on the stand, prosecutors called a Miller-Coors manager to testify about the beer can McNamee says he used to store waste after an alleged steroids injection of Clemens in August 2001. The witness, Anthony Manuele, looking at markings on the bottom of the can, was able to confirm that it would have been on shelves between August 2001 and Nov. 15, 2001 -- coinciding with McNamee's timeframe.
Hardin, on cross-examination, jabbed prosecutors by asking Manuele: "You don't sell these beer cans to keep needles, do you?"
The judge sustained a government objection, but not before Manuele could answer: "No, sir."
The day's final witness was FBI fingerprint expert Elizabeth Fontaine, who testified she couldn't identify Clemens' fingerprints on the waste associated with the beer can. But she also said that doesn't necessarily prove that Clemens never handled the evidence.
The trial is now in its sixth week.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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