Clemens Judge Allows U.S. to Call Witnesses Backing McNamee
By Tom Schoenberg-May 24, 2012 10:18 AM ET
The judge presiding over the perjury trial of ex-New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens said prosecutors can call witnesses for testimony they say will back drug accusations of Clemens’s former trainer, Brian McNamee.
Federal prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton yesterday in Washington that they want the jury to hear from the witnesses — one of whom McNamee claims he told by 2004 that Clemens used human growth hormone. They argued the testimony should be allowed because the defense alleged McNamee fabricated evidence of Clemens’s drug use in 2007 to keep from being prosecuted.
Walton, ruling from the bench today, agreed with the government’s contention that the defense had suggested McNamee’s motivation to lie started when he was contacted by investigators as part of a probe into the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
“The thrust of the examination in this trial on cross examination was that the motive to fabricate came when Mr. McNamee was under investigation by federal authorities,” Walton said. “That was the most prominent position the defense took for a motive to fabricate.”
Federal court rules allow for so called “prior consistent statements” that predate a motive to fabricate to be admitted during trial to rebut allegations that a witness is lying.
The witnesses the government wants to put on the stand are Anthony Corso and David Segui, a former Major League Baseball player.
McNamee told Corso at some point from 2002 to 2004 that Clemens used human growth hormone, or HGH, “regularly to recover from vigorous workouts,” according to a court filing by the government. In 2005, McNamee told Corso that he had saved some of the needles he had used to inject Clemens, the prosecutors said in the filing.
In 2001, McNamee told Segui that he’d saved “darts” from players he’d injected “in order to placate his wife,” according to the filing.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury stemming from his testimony to a House panel investigating the use of steroids in baseball. He faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted. Clemens has denied having used performance-enhancing drugs.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 1:10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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