WASHINGTON — Though it’s an open question whether jurors think Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing substances, they now know one thing for certain: His wife did.
She said it happened on a whim, inspired by a newspaper article with the headline: “Boomers believe they’ve found a fountain of youth in a syringe.” She said it occurred in her posh master bathroom, which she described as being “like the size of a kitchen.” She said she pulled up her shirt so that Brian McNamee could pinch her skin and inject her in the belly. She said no one else was there. She said she didn’t even tell her husband it was happening.
In fact, she said her husband was away, even though the reason McNamee would have been staying at the house would have been to train Roger Clemens.
She also said that when she told her husband about it later on the phone, she didn’t have to tell him what human growth hormone – HGH – was.
“I don’t think he thought it was bad,” she testified. “It wasn’t like doing heroin or something crazy.”
Debbie Clemens was always going to be a risky witness for her husband, and that was the case Friday as the perjury trial of the former pitcher reached the end of its eighth week. The defense is expected to rest Monday, and the jury could perhaps begin deliberations Tuesday afternoon.
Roger Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids and HGH. He’s also charged with obstructing Congress by telling 13 alleged untruths. Among them: his claim that his wife’s injection occurred without his previous knowledge or approval, and his claim that he wasn’t at Jose Canseco’s Florida house on or about June 9, 1998.
Debbie Clemens contradicted that second statement outright: She said the Clemens family – Roger, Debbie, four sons, Debbie’s brother and a nanny – spent the night at Canseco’s house during the June 8-10 series of games against the Florida Marlins. The only debate is whether they were present for a midday pool party, an event that McNamee has tied to the first steroids shot he said he gave Clemens a few days later.
“We did not attend a party at Jose Canseco’s house,” Debbie Clemens said.
It appears, therefore, that the best shot that Clemens’ attorneys have at avoiding a guilty verdict on the Canseco statement would be to persuade the judge or jury that it isn’t relevant to the steroids-HGH matter as a whole. Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has also said throughout the trial that sometimes an untruth should be classified simply as a “mistake.”
As for Debbie Clemens’ HGH shot, that’s something those who have followed the case have long known about.
The jury, however, had heard the particulars described only once – by McNamee during his five-plus days of testimony when he also described injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Though McNamee and Debbie Clemens gave differing accounts, her testimony might have bolstered his credibility: The jurors now know he was telling the truth when he said he gave her an HGH shot during one of his extended stays at the Clemens’ home in Houston.