Federal prosecutors asked a judge Friday morning to allow them to present evidence that their star witness injected other players with performance-enhancing drugs as they continued to press their perjury case against baseball legend Roger Clemens.
In court papers, prosecutors wrote that they felt it was necessary to seek the introduction of such evidence — which they believe will bolster their witness’s credibility — because defense lawyers have argued that Brian McNamee has “falsely accused” Clemens of having taken steroids and human growth hormone.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton had ruled that prosecutors could not introduce such evidence because it would be prejudicial to Clemens. But he said last year that he would reconsider his decision, depending on how defense lawyers attacked Clemens’s former strength coach.
Prosecutors wrote that they wanted to introduce such evidence because it would buttress McNamee’s contention that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. He has said he injected Andy Pettitte, Mike Stanton and Chuck Knoblauch with such substances, and the players have all confirmed his story.
McNamee first made his allegations to federal agents, then to former senator George Mitchell, who issued a 2007 report on the rampant use of steroids in Major League Baseball. He later reiterated those allegations to Congressional investigators and lawmakers. Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he vehemently denied McNamee’s claims.
The government needs to “rebut defendant’s suggestions that McNamee lied to Special Agent Novitzky, Senator Mitchell, Congress, and this jury to avoid being charged with a crime and to gain fame and fortune as a result of the allegations against defendant, the government should be permitted to show that McNamee provided information about the use of HGH by Major League Baseball players Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mike Stanton, who all subsequently admitted to Congress (Pettitte and Knoblauch) or to the grand jury (Stanton, Pettitte, and Knoblauch) that the information that McNamee provided about them was accurate,” wrote prosecutors with the District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is handling the case.
“Pettitte’s, Knoblauch’s, and Stanton’s admissions of their illegal behavior to Congress and the grand jury are the functional equivalent of guilty pleas. In the face of the attacks on McNamee’s credibility, that evidence makes it less probable that McNamee was or is simply lying out of self-interest against defendant and thus is relevant. This evidence specifically rebuts the notion that McNamee was biased out of self-interest in defendant’s case because McNamee’s association with these other players at the time he saved defendant’s medical waste, as well as the fact that he had and shared the information about other players at the time he was dealing with law enforcement, at the time of his publicity relating to what he told law enforcement.”
McNamee, a former Major League strength coach who worked with and for Clemens, started testifying on Monday and told jurors that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids or growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens’s lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, began cross-examining him on Tuesday afternoon and has been hammering the former strength coach about inconsistencies in his story and lies he has told over the years.
That cross-examination continues Friday. Federal prosecutors have said they are going to call 14 more witnesses — though they have refused to disclose whom they intend to next put on the witness stand — in a trial that has already drawn sharp criticism from Walton for its sluggish pace. Walton has repeatedly warned lawyers for both sides that jurors are growing restless. He has already excused two jurors for sleeping.