POSTED: 8:27 a.m. HST, May 16, 2012
WASHINGTON >> Brian McNamee conceded that the first time Roger Clemens asked for help with a "booty shot," the pitcher did not specifically use the word "steroids."
Under cross-examination from Clemens' lawyer, McNamee said that he assumed Clemens was referring to steroids when asking for the shot while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998. McNamee said he was under the impression Clemens was already doing steroids.
Hardin asked McNamee why he didn't ask Clemens what he meant.
"Because I knew what he meant," McNamee said, adding, "He got what he wanted."
McNamee, Clemens' former strength and conditioning coach, is the key government witness in the case. Clemens is accused of lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone. McNamee, who testified this week he injected Clemens in 1998, 2000 and 2001, is the only person who will claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens taking performance-enhancing drugs.
McNamee said that at the time of Clemens' request for help that he had no physical evidence that Clemens had been a steroids user but he referenced a conversation he overheard the pitcher have with another player, Jose Canseco — but could not provide specifics. Clemens' request for help with the booty shot came less than a month before the date on which McNamee says he gave Clemens his first injection.
Hardin also asked McNamee when Clemens first discussed steroids. McNamee said it was in spring training 1998, a few weeks after the two men met, when Clemens said he didn't play football at the University of Texas because he didn't want to get a shot in the thigh. McNamee said it was his assumption that Clemens was talking about steroids.
Hardin attacked McNamee's truthfulness and his memory in general terms.
"Have you intentionally lied?" Hardin asked.
"Yes sir," McNamee replied.
Later, the lawyer asked, "Mr. McNamee, do you sometimes just make stuff up?" The judge ruled the question out of bounds, but Hardin had given voice to what he wanted to imply.
Hardin also asked McNamee if his memory had "evolved."
"It's fair to say recollections of certain things have gotten better," McNamee said.
Hardin asked again, and McNamee replied, "Yes sir."
When McNamee said he had one more conversation with Clemens about steroids after 2001, Hardin asked why the coach hadn't mentioned that when he was interviewed for the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
"Bad memory," McNamee said, adding that nothing ever came of the conversation.
McNamee said Clemens broached the subject between the 2003 and 2004 season by telling McNamee, "I want to get really huge. Do you still have that guy?"
Earlier in the day, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton scolded a defense lawyer when he complained that prosecutors had redacted an email in evidence from McNamee to Clemens in a way that distorted the meaning. The lawyer, Michael Attanasio, said angrily, "Mr. Hardin will come tackle me if I ask for a mistrial, so I won't." The first prosecution ended in a mistrial last summer when prosecutors showed jurors a snippet of videotaped evidence the judge had ruled inadmissible.
Walton said he's "constantly troubled" when lawyers attack the integrity of their opposition for what could just be an honest mistake.
"It's one reason, to be honest, I got out early," from being a lawyer, the judge said.
"That's what our political world is now, and it's coming into the court," he added.
Walton said it's OK to fight hard, "but you don't have to throw dirt."
AP Sports Writer Joseph White contributed to this report.