Prosecutors try to rebuild McNamee's credibility

Prosecutors try to rebuild McNamee's credibility

Prosecutors try to rebuild McNamee's credibility
WASHINGTON -- As the lengthy appearance of chief accuser Brian McNamee in the federal perjury trial of Roger Clemens came to a close Monday, the prosecution took steps to rehabilitate its witness and took the further step of introducing testimony of McNamee's dealings related to performance-enhancing drugs involving other players, namely Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and Andy Pettitte.

Later in the 20th day of proceedings in the case, a Florida man who was 11 years old in 1998 testified that he met Roger Clemens at a party at Jose Canseco's house that June, identifying photos taken with the two baseball stars from that day.

Also, a Federal Bureau of Investigation scientist testified about fingerprints found on various items McNamee kept for several years that became key evidence in the trial -- finding very few she could identify and none that matched Clemens, a fact the defense attempted to make clear with meticulous detail on cross-examination.

During McNamee's redirect examination, the government was allowed on a limited basis to mention other Major League players based on Judge Reggie Walton's ruling on the government's motion to name other players McNamee says he helped use performance-enhancing drugs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler posed the questions about those players with McNamee to refute accusations of bias against Clemens made by the defense during cross-examination.

Walton gave instructions to the jury before and after that portion of the testimony and told attorneys the questioning couldn't go so far as to suggest that the players mentioned also admitted that McNamee was correct, because then the defense could counter with other witnesses who say McNamee's assertions about them were false. The government stayed in bounds, and Walton took steps in his comments to ensure that the jury could not infer that because those others allegedly took the substances provided with McNamee's assistance, Clemens did also.

McNamee testified that he gave by injection human-growth hormone to Knoblauch, the former infielder/outfielder with the Yankees and other teams, and Pettitte, the left-handed starter now making a comeback with the Yankees -- who might have been the most significant connection because he testified in this trial that he used HGH in 2002 and 2004.

McNamee, who served as the Yankees' assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2000 and 2001 and worked with players for several years after that, said he put Stanton, a former left-handed reliever with the Yankees and other teams, in touch with Kirk Radomski, a dealer of performance-enhancing drugs who also testified earlier in the trial.

After approximately two hours on the stand Monday, McNamee spent more than 26 hours as a witness in the case, taking up most of last week and the first half of Monday, which was the start of the sixth week of proceedings in Walton's courtroom at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Clemens is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress -- of which there are 15 obstructive acts, only one of which must be proven for a conviction -- 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, who served as a strength and conditioning trainer to Clemens in one capacity or another for nearly a decade, said in his own deposition and at that same hearing that he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs on numerous occasions, keeping items in a beer can and mailing box he says proves it.

The next witness on the stand after McNamee was an employee of Miller-Coors Brewing, who testified as to the Miller Lite can likely being purchased between July and November 2001, and on the Eastern seaboard.

"You don't sell those cans to keep needles, do you?" Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin asked. "No," said Anthony Manuele, who has been with Miller and now Miller-Coors for 34 years.

Next came Alexander Lowrey, a 25-year-old former University of Louisville baseball player who lived about a mile from Canseco's house in 1998 and was invited by a handyman who worked for his family and Canseco to attend a party Canseco was hosting for his Toronto Blue Jays teammates, including Clemens.

Lowrey identified a photo with him and Clemens at the side of pool at Canseco's house, which Lowrey said he hadn't visited before or since. Lowrey said he saw Clemens an hour or so earlier at the party, and the photo was taken at the end of his visit, which he estimated could have gone from about noon to 4 p.m. that day.

Clemens said in his testimony before Congress (a video of which the government showed the jury after Lowrey's appearance) that he might have driven by to drop off his wife but did not attend the party.

The government hopes Lowrey's testimony helps corroborate McNamee's testimony, since he attended the party and saw Clemens there.

In his cross-examination, defense attorney Hardin pounced on the fact that Lowrey was only 11 at the time and that was a long time ago, also establishing that Lowrey didn't see a player bus and couldn't identify other players -- including Jose Cruz Jr., whom he hoped to see there.

FBI fingerprint analyst Elizabeth Fontaine, the final witness of the day, explained how analysis was performed on items that were sent to the Latent Print Operations Unit. Ultimately, only three items had prints that could be analyzed -- two Ziploc bags and a small clear trash bag. Five McNamee prints and another that could not be identified was found on the Ziploc bag identified as the one McNamee placed the beer can into, and the trash bag had one print that was inconclusive.

Defense attorney Michael Attanasio used Fontaine's lab notes to further emphasize that very little could be found in the way of fingerprints and that none of them could be tied to Clemens.

During redirect of McNamee, Butler attempted to counteract the defense notion that McNamee wanted to achieve fame and fortune via his association with the case and Clemens specifically. Butler asked McNamee how things have turned out since his assertions about Clemens and others became public with the publication of the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball on Dec. 13, 2007.

"I don't know if it could have been any worse," said McNamee, who mentioned that his marriage is over and he only sees his three children -- none of whom play baseball anymore -- twice a week now.

McNamee also revealed he has Type 1 diabetes, as does his eldest son, and has needed to use an insulin pump during the trial, necessitating occasional breaks. It was a mention of his son's condition in the recorded phone conversation Clemens played at a press conference in early 2008 that McNamee says motivated him to turn over the physical evidence to authorities.

Asked by Butler about how he feels now about his involvement in giving players performance-enhancing drugs, McNamee said, "I shouldn't have gotten involved."

The trial is in recess Tuesday because Walton has a prior commitment and will only be in session from noon to 3:15 p.m. ET Wednesday because of juror commitments, but it will be in full session Thursday and Friday of this week.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.