WASHINGTON -- The estranged wife of Brian McNamee told jurors Wednesday that she never "harped" on him to save used syringes from injecting former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens with steroids as protection, directly contradicting McNamee's testimony.
In her much-anticipated testimony as a defense witness, Eileen McNamee delivered the blow to the prosecution's case following heated exchanges between U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton and Clemens' attorneys about how much she would be allowed to say in front of the jury.
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In their perjury case against Clemens for denying to Congress he used steroids, prosecutors have emphasized the evidence of used syringes, swabs and ampules of steroids that McNamee said he saved after injecting Clemens in 2001.
Under questioning by Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin, Eileen McNamee contradicted several key parts of her husband's account.
Though Brian McNamee testified that he saved the needles to get her off his back after she told him, "You're going to go down. You're going to go down. You're going to go down," she denied ever saying that to him.
Asked by Hardin whether she had, as McNamee testified, told him to stop giving the shots because he could become the "fall guy" if his injections of ballplayers became public, she testified Wednesday, "I couldn't tell him to stop doing what I didn't know."
She also said McNamee never told her about injecting Clemens or any other ballplayers with steroids or human growth hormone until just days before the Dec. 13, 2007, publication of the Mitchell Report on steroids in professional baseball.
Brian McNamee also had testified he had brought home the evidence in a FedEx box and showed it to her, but she said she saw it for the first time in the fall of 2001 after a basement flooding. She said she found the box sealed and placed in the cedar sports closet.
When she asked him about it, she testified, "He said he was saving things for his protection and that it was not my concern."
Eileen McNamee said the next time she saw the box was in 2003 or 2004, in his bedroom. It was open, she said, and next to it was a Bud Light beer can. She said she pulled out the box's contents. "I believe there was unused syringes," she said. "There was paper in there. And I believe, from what I recall, some brown vials." She said she shook the beer can, and it sounded like there were syringes inside.
But while she identified some of the brown vials in a photo of the saved evidence, she said she did not recognize the crushed Miller Lite can that McNamee stored the syringes in.
She said the last time she saw the box was at 3 a.m. in January 2008, when her husband startled her by entering the house unannounced, retrieved it and left within minutes.
Eileen McNamee, the mother of their three children and a first-grade teacher in New York City, is in a long-running and contentious divorce with her husband, and prosecutors have fought to keep the defense from bringing her testimony into the trial.
She returns to the witness stand Thursday.