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05/18/12 7:30 PM ET
McNamee: Other players' items also in beer can
Accuser concedes it's not all from Clemens in cross-examination
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The cross-examination of Brian McNamee by veteran defense attorney Rusty Hardin, unquestionably the most crucial question-and-answer session of the federal perjury trial of Roger Clemens, included several revelations to the jury and numerous attempts by Hardin to paint McNamee as a troubled liar before it came to a close Friday afternoon. In the midst of the day's testimony, Judge Reggie Walton, in what he said was a first in his 31 years on the bench, imposed time limits on direct and cross examination for the remainder of the trial in an effort to speed up the slow pace he has referenced several times throughout the proceedings. McNamee's extensive appearance -- he spent virtually the entire week on the stand, covering close to 24 hours of court time -- was not necessarily considered the biggest culprit in ongoing concerns about the trial's pace, for it stands out as the testimony of the man who is the chief accuser of the defendant. In one of the more compelling exchanges of the cross-examination, McNamee testified Friday morning that not all the items he stored in a beer can for nearly seven years were used to inject Clemens and might have been used on other as yet unnamed players. Identifying a needle with a blue base -- a large-gauge intramuscular one that would be used to administer steroids -- that came out of the can, McNamee told Hardin he couldn't be sure it was the one he used on a day in August 2001 to inject Clemens, before bringing the items home to show his wife and then packing the can and other items into a FedEx box. "Did you use that needle on Roger Clemens that day, according to you?" Hardin asked. "According to me, I might have," McNamee said. That was a new development for jurors, who up to that point had only seen evidence and heard testimony that the materials related to Clemens. But McNamee also testified he told federal investigators shortly after he turned over the items that not all of the evidence could be connected to Clemens, and he testified to the same thing during his Feb. 7, 2008, deposition with Congressional staffers. The former strength and conditioning trainer who worked with Clemens for nearly a decade underwent more than 12 hours of cross-examination. The government spent a little less time than that on direct and has said it will limit its redirect examination to 90 minutes -- 20 minutes of which were used up Friday. McNamee is the key prosecution witness in the trial against Clemens, who is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress related to his testimony during a Feb. 13, 2008, hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a Feb. 5, 2008, deposition conducted by committee staff members. Clemens said at the hearing, "Let me be clear: I have never used steroids or HGH." McNamee said in his own deposition and at that same hearing that he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs on numerous occasions and had saved the physical evidence he said would prove it. In another development late Friday, attorneys for the House of Representatives on behalf of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), currently the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, have submitted a motion to quash a subpoena issued by the Clemens team. The attorneys cited the Speech or Debate clause of the U.S. Constitution that privileges members of the House from testifying in court and the fact that Committee staffer Phil Barnett already has testified in the case, among other reasons. Before the trial resumes Monday morning, Walton also will need to rule on a government motion to now include McNamee's "HGH-based interactions with other players." The government named former Yankees Chuck Knoblauch and Mike Stanton in their filing as they intend to rehabilitate McNamee against claims of bias and self-interest being made by the defense. While swayed that the defense's attacks opened the door to McNamee's other dealings with players, Walton cautioned the government that they might not want to take that to the point of saying the players mentioned by McNamee in the investigation admitted to PED use because then that could open the door to the defense bringing in people it says it has interviewed whom McNamee accused of PED use who say McNamee was lying about them, causing a series of "mini-trials." The items in the beer can that McNamee said might not be Clemens' do not include the loose items including another large-gauge needle, another syringe that could be used with that needle and gauze and tissue that McNamee says he put in a carrying case to take home the August 2001 night he says he injected Clemens at the pitcher's Manhattan apartment. But, during cross, McNamee said he might have placed items used on other players in the beer can, saying he injected two others with drugs in his hotel room on the road at some point and put those materials in another pocket of his carrying case. In having McNamee identify items that were in the can, Hardin pointed out that McNamee had testified that Clemens stopped using human-growth hormone in 2000, so the insulin needle and the vials of HGH stored in the can could not have anything to do with Clemens. In his deposition before Congressional staff members, McNamee was asked the same thing and said of the HGH-related items, "It can only be Knoblauch." Ultimately, the main point Hardin was trying to drive home is that McNamee for the first time was saying he took items he says were from Clemens that night in August 2001 and, that night, stored them alongside items used on other players. "You've never told anyone that before today, have you?" Hardin said. "It's never been asked that way to me before," McNamee said Among other items as he wrapped up a contentious cross-examination, Hardin brought up McNamee's two citations in 2002 for driving under the influence, asking if he's an alcoholic. "No, sir," McNamee replied, eventually telling a rather circuitous story about how they occurred. Later, Hardin questioned McNamee as to why he was investigated in a federal probe into prescription drug fraud, McNamee explaining that he went online and got diet pills for his wife to use. Hardin also addressed the incidents in October 2001 that led in part to McNamee's dismissal from the Yankees. McNamee denied he asked Yankees security chief Jerry Laveroni to dispose of evidence in the "serious incident involving law enforcement" in St. Petersburg, Fla., which unbeknownst to the jury is a sexual-assault allegation involving the date-rape drug GHB for which no charges were filed. He also was asked about the incident just days later in Seattle in which several Yankees employees, including GM Brian Cashman, attended to him in his hotel room -- McNamee says he had a beer after a long flight and then became hypoglycemic, causing disorientation and other symptoms. Hardin brought up that, in a video intended for a web site McNamee was hoping to help get started that wound up on YouTube, he said that Clemens' next uniform might be "one of those orange jumpsuits with the serial number on it." "I was angry. That's how I felt at that time," McNamee said of his reference to Clemens ending up in prison garb. Prior to Friday's testimony, Walton warned attorneys that the case would need to end by June 8 or it might have to go into recess for a month because he has prior commitments, but he said at the lunch break that he might have to get a substitute for the first of those commitments because he doesn't think the trial will be over by then. That's when he imposed time limits on the testimony the remainder of the trial -- 90 minutes for direct and 90 minutes for cross, and two hours for closing statements. Lawyers from both sides agreed to stipulate to information from five of the remaining 14 witnesses the government intends to call before resting its case. Having said in the morning that his commitments might cause the trial to go into recess into July, he later said "that's just inhumane to subject a jury to that."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.