Clemens trial witness: McNamee told me about syringes

Roger Clemens and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, arrive

Roger Clemens and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, arrive at federal court in Washington. (April 16, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

WASHINGTON -- A former Wall Street client of trainer Brian McNamee testified in Roger Clemens' perjury trial Tuesday that McNamee once told him around 2005 that he saved syringes from injecting baseball players to protect himself, corroborating key testimony from Clemens' former trainer.

Businessman Anthony Corso said a newspaper story about Barry Bonds' trainer going to jail prompted him to ask McNamee whether he might face legal trouble. McNamee, according to Corso, then revealed he saved the evidence and said, "I'm not going to get thrown under the bus."

Corso was among the final handful of government witnesses called before prosecutors rested their case Tuesday following five weeks of testimony intended to convince the jury that the former Yankees star pitcher lied to Congress four years ago when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. After Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham entered into evidence a series of records of payments Clemens made to McNamee over the years for his personal training services, Durham said, "With that, the government rests its case."

Before the defense started its case, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton denied Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin's motion to dismiss the charges, but did eliminate two of the 15 statements listed under the Obstruction of Congress count.

Clemens also is charged with three counts of false statements and two counts of perjury. Hardin began the defense case by calling a former high school teammate and a college teammate of Clemens to testify about how Clemens displayed an unmatched work ethic even then.

Asked if he'd seen a baseball player as dedicated to his physical well-being as Clemens, former University of Texas teammate Mike Capel said, "No." Todd Howey, who played with Clemens at Spring Woods High School in Houston, said Clemens was not the best player on the team but the most dedicated. "I have yet to see anyone work like Roger Clemens," Howey said.

Their testimony was a big leap in tone from the start of the day when Corso testified about the existence of the physical evidence, though there was some dispute over whether he remembered whether McNamee ever told him it belonged to Clemens.

Asked by a juror whether McNamee mentioned the syringes were from a Clemens injection, Corso said, "He did not."

Durham pointed out that Corso testified differently to the grand jury that indicted Clemens in 2010 when he said McNamee told him, "I saved two syringes I used on Roger."

After reading the transcript on the witness stand, Corso testified that he did not dispute the truthfulness of his previous testimony, but that he no longer can recall that portion of the conversation.Corso was the second witness the prosecution was allowed to put on the stand to testify that McNamee had told them about giving Clemens human growth hormone and saving needles before the federal government began investigating the former Yankees pitcher. Former ballplayer David Segui was the first.

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: