WASHINGTON — Roger Clemens lost two legal moves in his perjury trial Monday: his efforts to strike the testimony of his former teammate Andy Pettitte and to bring in information from the divorce of his chief accuser, Brian McNamee.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton rejected a defense motion to strike Pettitte’s testimony about a contested conversation a dozen years ago about human growth hormone.
Pettitte testified two weeks ago that Clemens said he had used HGH — only to say under cross-examination he might have misunderstood their conversation. Walton ruled that because Pettitte had said under questioning from prosecutors that Clemens said he used HGH, it was up to the jury to decide which how much weight to give Pettitte’s testimony.
Walton also granted motions filed by McNamee and his estranged wife’s law firm to quash a Clemens subpoena for divorce records. The judge called the subpoena a “fishing expedition.”
McNamee, Clemens’ former strength coach who said he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001, was expected to take the stand Monday. Clemens is accused of lying when he told Congress in 2008 he never used those drugs.
Clemens’ team won a few small items on Monday, over how much of McNamee’s checkered past it could present to jurors, in an attempt to diminish his credibility. The judge ruled that Clemens’ team could bring up evidence of McNamee’s alleged alcohol problems, including two convictions for driving under the influence. Walton also said that if the defense had evidence that McNamee had obtained prescription drugs without a prescription, that too could be mentioned.
But the judge said that defense lawyers could not mention that McNamee was investigated for an alleged sexual assault over an incident at a St. Petersburg hotel involving a woman was found to have a date rape drug in her system. Walton said that the defense could refer to it as a serious criminal investigation. McNamee lied to investigators, and prosecutors have argued that with the exception of the false statements to police, the 2001 incident is inadmissible.
A lot rides on McNamee’s testimony, especially after the government’s other key witness, Pettitte, wavered in his appearance two weeks ago.
McNamee says he saved items that he used while injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, including gauze, tissues, syringes, cotton balls and needles. Prosecutors say they have evidence that some of the materials tested positive for the drugs as well as Clemens’ DNA.
Clemens’ lawyers have said they will contend that the items saved by McNamee have been tainted and contaminated because they were stored so haphazardly. They refer to the collection as a “mixed-up hodgepodge of garbage.”
Clemens insists that McNamee injected him with vitamin B12 and the anesthetic lidocaine.
Monday will be a reunion of sorts for the two men. In 2008, when they testified together before a congressional committee, McNamee said he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH, and Clemens denied it.
Two weeks later, the chairman and ranking member of the committee asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Clemens committed perjury at the hearing, and two years after that, Clemens was indicted by a grand jury.