Trainer turns in Clemens evidence
Roger Clemens’ former trainer has given physical evidence to federal investigators that will confirm the pitcher used performance-enhancing drugs, the trainer’s attorneys said Wednesday.
The evidence includes vials with traces of steroids and human growth hormone, blood-stained syringes and gauze pads that may contain the seven-time Cy Young Award winner’s DNA, the New York Daily News reported on its website, citing an anonymous source.
The evidence has been sent to a lab for testing of drugs and blood, the Daily News reported. Depending on the results, prosecutors could seek a DNA sample from Clemens.
“If Roger Clemens’ DNA is on that used needle, that’s the functional equivalent of the little blue dress in the Monica Lewinsky case that forced Bill Clinton to admit his affair,” former federal prosecutor Brian Lysaght said.
Lanny Breuer, an attorney for Clemens, accused trainer Brian McNamee of smearing Clemens and attacked his credibility.
“Brian McNamee is obviously a troubled man who is obsessed with doing everything possible to destroy Roger Clemens,” Breuer said in a statement, adding that McNamee had lied to baseball and government investigators and “now he apparently has manufactured evidence.”
“He now claims he kept blood, gauze and needles from Roger Clemens for seven years,” Breuer said. “It defies all sensibility. It is just not credible -- who in their right mind does such a thing?
“As Roger has said under oath to Congress and to the American public, at no time did he take steroids or growth hormone. Despite the desperate smears of Brian McNamee, Roger is looking forward to testifying before Congress next week to set the record straight.”
The disclosure is the latest dramatic development in the steroid allegations involving Clemens, which surfaced in December with the release of former Sen. George Mitchell’s report examining the use of performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball.
McNamee told Mitchell’s investigators that he injected Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, with steroids or HGH on 16 occasions in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Until now, it was not known if there was any physical evidence that might back up McNamee’s allegations. Clemens has said the only injections he received from McNamee were for vitamin B-12 and the pain reliever lidocaine.
The Daily News report said McNamee kept the evidence from the 2000 and 2001 seasons out of fear Clemens would deny use of the drugs if the issue were ever investigated.
The onetime strength and conditioning coach of the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees preserved the evidence because as “a former police officer,” he knew it was important to do so, Richard Emery, an attorney for McNamee, told The Times.
Emery declined to describe the evidence but said it was delivered to U.S. Justice Department investigators from San Francisco “some time ago.”
McNamee and Clemens will be on Capitol Hill today. As McNamee gives his deposition, Clemens will meet several of the lawmakers scheduled to question him under oath next week -- meetings Breuer said had been in the works before Wednesday’s disclosure.
Clemens was deposed Tuesday by attorneys with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He said he denied under oath having taken steroids or HGH, as McNamee has alleged.
Ronald J. Nessim, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, said Clemens is in “high jeopardy” of a criminal case if he’s lying.
“It’s true his reputation is in tatters, with his Hall of Fame chances being questioned and all that, but nothing he’s done is criminal unless he’s lying,” Nessim said. “It’s very brazen if he’s doing it in Congress. Prosecutors and members of Congress don’t like that.
” . . . Even if it’s a one-on-one credibility contest, physical evidence at some point can become sufficient to prosecute. If it’s powerful evidence, he’s vulnerable.”
Breuer said the disclosure deprived Clemens of the opportunity to refute the claim to government investigators.
“It’s a complete stunt,” the attorney said, “calculated to do only one thing, and that is to destroy a good man’s name. Sadly, it works.”
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco, which is supervising the investigation of performance-enhancing drug use in sports that started with the 2003 raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), said his office had no comment on the Daily News’ report.
Emery said McNamee will discuss his turnover of the evidence at a news conference after today’s deposition.
The one-on-one meetings Clemens will hold today were offered by his representatives to selected committee members in advance of next week’s televised hearing. The so-called “courtesy calls” enable legislators to talk to witnesses without the five-minute limit on questioning that applies in a hearing, and outside that potentially adversarial setting.
“Roger has nothing to hide,” Breuer said. “He feels the best way to show that is to meet with members and let them know he never took steroids or HGH.”
Breuer said he did not know which members had accepted invitations to meet with Clemens.
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