For weeks, Roger Clemens and his expensive legal team and agents have been denying his former personal trainer Brian McNamee's charges that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner used steroids and human growth hormone, as detailed in the Mitchell Report. Those denials have come in something of a vacuum because of a lack of documentation or physical evidence.
McNamee's attorneys are now providing what they believe will be damaging evidence - reportedly, syringes McNamee kept that he allegedly used to inject Clemens with steroids and HGH. An anonymous source cited by the New York Daily News indicated that traces of Clemens's blood will be detected, which will substantiate McNamee's charges. McNamee is scheduled to give his deposition to Congress behind closed doors today. His lead attorney, Earl Ward, yesterday confirmed that physical evidence was turned over to federal prosecutors last month. An anonymous source told the Associated Press the evidence includes syringes and gauze pads containing Clemens's blood.
"I think this is a significant point in the case. We believe that this is significant corroboration," said Ward.
One of Clemens's attorneys, Lanny Breuer, responded that McNamee "apparently has manufactured evidence" and called the allegations "desperate smears." Breuer is expected to charge that the material put into evidence could have been tampered with since it's been sitting for several years. According to the Mitchell Report, McNamee injected Clemens in 1998 when the two were employed by the Toronto Blue Jays, then in 2000 and 2001, when they were with the New York Yankees.
"It is just not credible," Breuer said in a statement. "Who in their right mind does such a thing?
"Brian McNamee is obviously a troubled man who is obsessed with doing everything possible to destroy Roger Clemens. McNamee . . . lied to Senator [George] Mitchell, he lied to the federal government, and now he apparently has manufactured evidence. He has changed his story repeatedly on this matter. He claims to love Roger Clemens, he says he modeled being a father on Roger Clemens, he said Roger treated him like family - but he now claims he kept blood, gauze, and needles from Roger Clemens for seven years. It defies all sensibility."
Clemens, the former Red Sox ace, spent almost five hours speaking to congressional investigators Tuesday, a day after his friend and former Yankees and Astros teammate, Andy Pettitte, met with Congress and repeated what he admitted publicly - that he was injected with HGH by McNamee, as stated in the Mitchell Report.
"It was great to be able to tell them what I've been saying all along - that I've never used steroids or growth hormone," Clemens told reporters.
If Clemens is found to be lying under oath, he could face five years in prison.
McNamee testified to Mitchell investigators that he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH up to 16 times. The anonymous source cited by the Daily News indicated that McNamee would occasionally inject Clemens at the pitcher's Manhattan apartment and then keep the syringes so he could dispose of them at his home in Queens. The source said McNamee kept some of the syringes and later turned them over to Internal Revenue Service special agent Jeff Novitzky. The source also said McNamee kept gauze pads that removed blood from Clemens's skin in 2000 and 2001.
The information given in McNamee's deposition before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform could be made public today.
"This will totally corroborate that Brian has been telling the truth from the beginning," Ward told the AP in a telephone interview. "It takes it out of the category of he said, he said."
Keith Ausbrook, the House committee's Republican general counsel, told the AP the committee was not aware such physical evidence existed.
"Unknown and unexpected evidence comes in at all times in any investigation," Ausbrook wrote in an e-mail. "We will still need to examine McNamee's evidence and hear what he has to say."
Another McNamee attorney, Richard Emery, added, "[Former Yankee Chuck] Knoblauch and Pettitte and all the other people who corroborate Brian are going to be much less important than this physical evidence we provide."
After revelations of McNamee's physical evidence came out, a representative of Clemens's legal team requested and will receive a meeting this morning with Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland who is a member of the House committee, according to a Cummings spokeswoman.
All the major parties involved in the Mitchell Report - Clemens, McNamee, Pettitte, Knoblauch, and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who pleaded guilty last April to felony charges of distributing steroids and laundering money - will testify at Wednesday's open congressional hearing.
"Roger is looking forward to testifying before Congress next week to set the record straight," Breuer said. "He will not waver, nor will he shrink from this, because he is telling the truth. We ask all fair-minded people to listen. It is time for Brian McNamee to be subject to the same scrutiny as Roger Clemens."
Material from wire services was used in this report; Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.