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Clemens' wife testifies on HGH, Canseco party

Federal perjury trial of 354-game winner might go to jury Tuesday
MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- In more than two gripping hours on the stand Friday at the federal perjury trial of her husband, Debbie Clemens contradicted the chief accuser in the case but also provided testimony that could be harmful to Roger Clemens' defense.

She described in detail receiving a shot of human-growth hormone from Brian McNamee in the master bathroom of her house when her husband was out of town sometime in November 2000, both the circumstances and the timing of the incident contradicting McNamee's earlier testimony.

Debbie Clemens told jurors under direct examination from defense attorney Rusty Hardin that she had McNamee administer one injection a couple of days after reading a USA Today article about HGH being a "fountain of youth," which Hardin showed as being published on Nov. 15, 2000. She said she discussed the article with her mother and some friends and then asked McNamee if he knew anything about the substance.

"[McNamee] told me he had some HGH. I said, 'Great.' So we went into the bathroom and he gave me a shot," Debbie Clemens testified.

Under intense cross-examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski, Clemens said "it was fine" that, as Saleski said several times, McNamee "put his hands on you" in the master bathroom with her husband not present, with Clemens eventually asking whether Saleski had ever given birth.

"That's invasive," Clemens said of childbirth. "He touched my belly. It was not a big deal."

That exchange was just part of some of the more tense hours of testimony during the trial, which concluded its eighth week of proceedings since jury selection began.

Clemens also testified as to the timing of her husband's presence at Jose Canseco's house the day Canseco held a party Clemens denied attending, presenting a receipt from the pro shop where the couple golfed that morning but also under cross revealing to the jury for the first time that the Clemens family stayed at Canseco's house the night before the party.

The testimony from the defendant's wife was used in large part to further defense attacks on McNamee's credibility. McNamee said he gave an HGH injection to Debbie Clemens sometime in 2002 or 2003, and that Clemens was standing right there, which McNamee said felt "creepy." McNamee said he wouldn't have gone into the master bathroom with his client's wife with Roger Clemens not there, and that at the time Clemens told his wife, "He injects me, why shouldn't he inject you?"

With Debbie Clemens' testimony complete and that of Federal Bureau of Investigation agent John Longmire, recalled by the defense after earlier testifying for the government, almost complete, the defense is poised to rest Monday. Government attorneys said their rebuttal case shouldn't take more than half a court day, so Judge Reggie Walton expects that after closing arguments from both sides he'll give the jury its final instructions by the end of the day Tuesday, at which point the panel of 12 jurors will go into deliberations, with only one alternate still available.

Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards in a 24-year Major League career, is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction for telling a congressional committee in 2008 that he never used steroids or HGH and making other statements that were misleading to its investigation.

Brian McNamee testified before the same committee and at this trial that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs numerous times from 1998-2001, saving evidence in a beer can and a mailing box after injecting Clemens in August 2001. Clemens testified McNamee only injected him with vitamin B12 and lidocaine.

Under direct examination, Debbie Clemens showed a receipt from the pro shop at Weston Hills Country Club in south Florida from June 9, 1998, with a time stamp of 8:58 a.m., and said the couple, playing with her brother and a friend, then hit balls on the driving range for 20-25 minutes, which would put their tee time around 9:30. She added that they probably had lunch (she had no receipt for that) so she estimated they left the golf course around 2:30 or 3 p.m. and went to Canseco's house, 10 minutes away.

That would be slightly outside the time frame McNamee estimated as having seen Canseco and Clemens at the party -- part of his personal timeline of when he first injected Clemens with steroids a few days later -- and close to the time Alexander Lowrey, then 11 years old, had his picture taken with Clemens, which a photographic technologist testified was taken between 2:55 and 4:20 p.m.

Saleski did not spend much time on Debbie Clemens' testimony about the Canseco party, but establishing that the family stayed overnight the night before cuts right to one of the acts in the obstruction of Congress charge, which states that Clemens denied being at Canseco's house "on or about June 9, 1998."

Most of the cross-examination was about the HGH shot, and Hardin's direct examination spent more time on that as well. Showing photos of the Clemens' master bedroom (one of six bedrooms in the house) and expansive master bathroom (one of 10 bathrooms), which Clemens said was "the size of a kitchen" compared to her house growing up, to paint the picture, Hardin walked her through the circumstances of the HGH injection from McNamee.

Throughout, Debbie Clemens maintained the time frame was 2000, saying another USA Today article published in 2003 that Saleski presented to her wasn't the one that made her want to try HGH, since it mostly involved older people. However, Roger Clemens testified in his deposition before the congressional committee that it was in "2003 possibly," and a statement from Debbie Clemens her husband read at the congressional hearing also said it was in 2003.

After receiving the injection, Debbie Clemens said that she spoke to her husband on the phone that night and informed him that she was having some circulation problems, revealing that McNamee had given her the shot. She said her husband responded "You did what? Why?" and then called McNamee to confront him about it. Another act in the obstruction charge relates to Roger Clemens saying he never discussed HGH with McNamee.

Saleski began her cross by referencing Debbie Clemens' advice about health and fitness and to mothers, saying they're posted on DebbieClemens.com, including three rules are to plan ahead, be practical and use common sense. "I'm pretty conservative," Debbie Clemens said.

After asking whether she was the CEO of the family and Clemens saying, "We've been a corporation and a family," Saleski soon launched into a series of questions meant to suggest that Clemens was not conservative in this instance and that the injection was something that might damage the Clemens "brand," as Saleski put it. After the exchange about how McNamee "put his hands" on her to provide the injection, Saleski suggested that her husband must have been mad about it. Clemens said her husband was mad at McNamee, not her.

"I don't think [her husband] thought it was that bad," Debbie Clemens said, saying the decision to get the injection was spontaneous. "It's not like I was doing heroin or something crazy."

Debbie Clemens said that with McNamee being a Major League strength trainer, having a Ph.D and that she thought he'd been a Navy SEAL (he hadn't, but conducted workouts with that name), she felt comfortable with McNamee giving her the shot. Saleski said how Navy SEALs are "awesome and go in and kick butt" but that the men who "go into Afghanistan, are those the guys you're going to let shoot you up?"

"I'm telling you I thought he was capable and that he always painted himself as trying to make us better through his knowledge," Clemens responded, using a dismissive tone with the final word.

On redirect, Hardin again brought up the 2001 incident in Florida in which McNamee was investigated on a serious matter involving law enforcement (which jurors have not been told was a sexual assault allegation for which McNamee wasn't charged). He asked whether she'd have allowed McNamee to perform such an injection alone after that allegation, and she said "No" emphatically.

Saleski on rebuttal mentioned that she let McNamee stay at the pool house while training her husband for years after that, and that he was still involved with the family. "He was never involved with my family. He was just around," she responded.

Jurors again submitted some insightful questions, including one asking why if her husband wasn't there, what was McNamee doing there? She suggested that her husband might have left town that morning and McNamee was going to leave that afternoon.

Another asked if Debbie Clemens, now 49, would take HGH again.

"I might," she said. "I don't know yet. I don't know if I'm old enough yet. This is aging me."

WASHINGTON -- In more than two gripping hours on the stand Friday at the federal perjury trial of her husband, Debbie Clemens contradicted the chief accuser in the case but also provided testimony that could be harmful to Roger Clemens' defense.

She described in detail receiving a shot of human-growth hormone from Brian McNamee in the master bathroom of her house when her husband was out of town sometime in November 2000, both the circumstances and the timing of the incident contradicting McNamee's earlier testimony.

Debbie Clemens told jurors under direct examination from defense attorney Rusty Hardin that she had McNamee administer one injection a couple of days after reading a USA Today article about HGH being a "fountain of youth," which Hardin showed as being published on Nov. 15, 2000. She said she discussed the article with her mother and some friends and then asked McNamee if he knew anything about the substance.

"[McNamee] told me he had some HGH. I said, 'Great.' So we went into the bathroom and he gave me a shot," Debbie Clemens testified.

Under intense cross-examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski, Clemens said "it was fine" that, as Saleski said several times, McNamee "put his hands on you" in the master bathroom with her husband not present, with Clemens eventually asking whether Saleski had ever given birth.

"That's invasive," Clemens said of childbirth. "He touched my belly. It was not a big deal."

That exchange was just part of some of the more tense hours of testimony during the trial, which concluded its eighth week of proceedings since jury selection began.

Clemens also testified as to the timing of her husband's presence at Jose Canseco's house the day Canseco held a party Clemens denied attending, presenting a receipt from the pro shop where the couple golfed that morning but also under cross revealing to the jury for the first time that the Clemens family stayed at Canseco's house the night before the party.

The testimony from the defendant's wife was used in large part to further defense attacks on McNamee's credibility. McNamee said he gave an HGH injection to Debbie Clemens sometime in 2002 or 2003, and that Clemens was standing right there, which McNamee said felt "creepy." McNamee said he wouldn't have gone into the master bathroom with his client's wife with Roger Clemens not there, and that at the time Clemens told his wife, "He injects me, why shouldn't he inject you?"

With Debbie Clemens' testimony complete and that of Federal Bureau of Investigation agent John Longmire, recalled by the defense after earlier testifying for the government, almost complete, the defense is poised to rest Monday. Government attorneys said their rebuttal case shouldn't take more than half a court day, so Judge Reggie Walton expects that after closing arguments from both sides he'll give the jury its final instructions by the end of the day Tuesday, at which point the panel of 12 jurors will go into deliberations, with only one alternate still available.

Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards in a 24-year Major League career, is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction for telling a congressional committee in 2008 that he never used steroids or HGH and making other statements that were misleading to its investigation.

Brian McNamee testified before the same committee and at this trial that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs numerous times from 1998-2001, saving evidence in a beer can and a mailing box after injecting Clemens in August 2001. Clemens testified McNamee only injected him with vitamin B12 and lidocaine.

Under direct examination, Debbie Clemens showed a receipt from the pro shop at Weston Hills Country Club in south Florida from June 9, 1998, with a time stamp of 8:58 a.m., and said the couple, playing with her brother and a friend, then hit balls on the driving range for 20-25 minutes, which would put their tee time around 9:30. She added that they probably had lunch (she had no receipt for that) so she estimated they left the golf course around 2:30 or 3 p.m. and went to Canseco's house, 10 minutes away.

That would be slightly outside the time frame McNamee estimated as having seen Canseco and Clemens at the party -- part of his personal timeline of when he first injected Clemens with steroids a few days later -- and close to the time Alexander Lowrey, then 11 years old, had his picture taken with Clemens, which a photographic technologist testified was taken between 2:55 and 4:20 p.m.

Saleski did not spend much time on Debbie Clemens' testimony about the Canseco party, but establishing that the family stayed overnight the night before cuts right to one of the acts in the obstruction of Congress charge, which states that Clemens denied being at Canseco's house "on or about June 9, 1998."

Most of the cross-examination was about the HGH shot, and Hardin's direct examination spent more time on that as well. Showing photos of the Clemens' master bedroom (one of six bedrooms in the house) and expansive master bathroom (one of 10 bathrooms), which Clemens said was "the size of a kitchen" compared to her house growing up, to paint the picture, Hardin walked her through the circumstances of the HGH injection from McNamee.

Throughout, Debbie Clemens maintained the time frame was 2000, saying another USA Today article published in 2003 that Saleski presented to her wasn't the one that made her want to try HGH, since it mostly involved older people. However, Roger Clemens testified in his deposition before the congressional committee that it was in "2003 possibly," and a statement from Debbie Clemens her husband read at the congressional hearing also said it was in 2003.

After receiving the injection, Debbie Clemens said that she spoke to her husband on the phone that night and informed him that she was having some circulation problems, revealing that McNamee had given her the shot. She said her husband responded "You did what? Why?" and then called McNamee to confront him about it. Another act in the obstruction charge relates to Roger Clemens saying he never discussed HGH with McNamee.

Saleski began her cross by referencing Debbie Clemens' advice about health and fitness and to mothers, saying they're posted on DebbieClemens.com, including three rules are to plan ahead, be practical and use common sense. "I'm pretty conservative," Debbie Clemens said.

After asking whether she was the CEO of the family and Clemens saying, "We've been a corporation and a family," Saleski soon launched into a series of questions meant to suggest that Clemens was not conservative in this instance and that the injection was something that might damage the Clemens "brand," as Saleski put it. After the exchange about how McNamee "put his hands" on her to provide the injection, Saleski suggested that her husband must have been mad about it. Clemens said her husband was mad at McNamee, not her.

"I don't think [her husband] thought it was that bad," Debbie Clemens said, saying the decision to get the injection was spontaneous. "It's not like I was doing heroin or something crazy."

Debbie Clemens said that with McNamee being a Major League strength trainer, having a Ph.D and that she thought he'd been a Navy SEAL (he hadn't, but conducted workouts with that name), she felt comfortable with McNamee giving her the shot. Saleski said how Navy SEALs are "awesome and go in and kick butt" but that the men who "go into Afghanistan, are those the guys you're going to let shoot you up?"

"I'm telling you I thought he was capable and that he always painted himself as trying to make us better through his knowledge," Clemens responded, using a dismissive tone with the final word.

On redirect, Hardin again brought up the 2001 incident in Florida in which McNamee was investigated on a serious matter involving law enforcement (which jurors have not been told was a sexual assault allegation for which McNamee wasn't charged). He asked whether she'd have allowed McNamee to perform such an injection alone after that allegation, and she said "No" emphatically.

Saleski on rebuttal mentioned that she let McNamee stay at the pool house while training her husband for years after that, and that he was still involved with the family. "He was never involved with my family. He was just around," she responded.

Jurors again submitted some insightful questions, including one asking why if her husband wasn't there, what was McNamee doing there? She suggested that her husband might have left town that morning and McNamee was going to leave that afternoon.

Another asked if Debbie Clemens, now 49, would take HGH again.

"I might," she said. "I don't know yet. I don't know if I'm old enough yet. This is aging me."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.