Beer can, gauze among evidence admitted at Clemens trial

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WASHINGTON — Exhibit 52C was the semi-crushed Miller Lite beer can. Exhibit 52D was the FedEx box that once contained the beer can. Then came exhibits of gauze, tissues, syringes, cotton balls and needles, some of which were once inside the beer can, using up letters of the alphabet all the way to X.

For the first time Thurs­day, the jury in the Roger Clemens trial saw in person the physical evidence the government says will link the 11-time All-Star baseball pitcher to anabolic steroids, evidence that Clemens’ lawyer has called a “mixed-up hodgepodge of garbage.”

The items were presented on Day 10 of the retrial on charges that Clemens committed perjury when he told Congress in 2008 that he had never taken steroids or human growth hormone. The first trial last July ended in a mistrial.

Prosecutors presented the items methodically during the testimony of federal agent Jeff Novitzky, who related how he received the items from Clemens’ former strength coach, Brian McNamee, on Jan. 10, 2008.

McNamee, who is expected to take the stand next week as the government’s key witness, has said he injected Clemens with both steroids and HGH. He said in a 2008 congressional deposition that he decided to hang on to the needle, gauze and associated material after injecting Clemens with the steroid Sustanon 250 at Clemens’ apartment in 2001 – part of a “gut feeling” he had because he didn’t fully trust Clemens.

Novitzky gave perhaps an unexpected boost to the government when he answered a question by speaking of a connection he made between Clemens and performance-enhancing drugs. It came during his answer about his 2005 investigation of Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets batboy who has admitted providing drugs to dozens of players.

Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin asked whether there was “anything at all” to connect Clemens with Radomski.

“Yes,” Novitzky said. “There was evidence that his personal trainer, Brian McNamee, was associated with Kirk Radomski.” The evidence was checks written to Radomski from McNamee.

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