Clemens trial: Judge to rule on needle testimony

Former pitcher Roger Clemens arrives at federal court.

Former pitcher Roger Clemens arrives at federal court. (May 23, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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WASHINGTON -- The judge in the Roger Clemens perjury trial will rule Thursday whether a former Met and a business associate of trainer Brian McNamee can testify that McNamee told them close to a decade ago about needles he saved from steroid injections of Major League players.

The government has asked U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to allow the testimony of former player David Segui and businessman Anthony Corso, a training client of McNamee. Corso would testify that McNamee told him the syringes were from a steroid injection of Clemens

If Walton rules for the prosecution, Segui will also be allowed to testify that McNamee told him he had stashed "darts" -- needles -- used to inject performance-enhancing drugs. The motion is an effort to bolster McNamee's credibility by showing he had already told others about the evidence and Clemens before talking to federal authorities and the Mitchell Commission on steroids in baseball in 2007.

Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin objected, arguing that prosecutors don't need to prove when McNamee saved the evidence or told others about his accusations against Clemens, because the defense never raised the timing for either issue. Walton said Wednesday that, under his understanding of the law, "that testimony would be admissible."

The prosecutors want Segui, an admitted steroid user who appeared before the grand jury that indicted Clemens in 2010, to testify that McNamee told him in 2001 he had saved the darts from players McNamee had injected, to placate his wife. McNamee has testified that his wife was worried he would take the fall for Clemens someday.

They also want Corso to testify that McNamee told him in the early 2000s that Clemens used human growth hormone regularly to recover quickly, and that in 2005 McNamee told Corso he saved some of the needles he used to inject the former pitcher.

Former Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, the only witness to appear Wednesday, testified under cross-examination that Clemens did not show the obvious bodily signs of steroid use.

"No, I can't say that, no, absolutely not."

But under questioning by a prosecutor, Monahan became the first witness to describe physical changes in Clemens. Hardin has repeatedly stated that Clemens had not changed physically during his 24-year career.

Monahan said he first saw Clemens in 1986, when he was 24 and with the Red Sox. He said he got to know him better in 1999 after Clemens joined the Yankees.

"I would say he was a little heavier," Monahan said. "He had gained some real good strength, and he was a stronger athlete than he was in '86."

Before the judge left for the day, Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski asked for a more concrete "hint" of his ruling on the government motion on Segui and Corso, saying it would help persuade an otherwise reluctant Segui to fly to Washington to appear.

Walton let out a sigh and declined. If Segui doesn't show up "he better be on the run because the marshals will be after him."

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