McNamee makes surprise claim in Clemens trial

Brian McNamee, right, ex-trainer of former Major League Brian McNamee, right, ex-trainer of former Major League baseball pitcher Roger Clemens arrives at federal court in Washington for Clemens' perjury trial. (May 16, 2012) Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin

advertisement | advertise on newsday

WASHINGTON -- Brian McNamee surprised the court in the Roger Clemens perjury trial yesterday when he described a new, previously undisclosed conversation in January 2004 in which he said the former Yankees pitcher asked him if he still had a contact for steroids.

McNamee brought it up as Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin pressed him on his changing stories about Clemens and steroid use -- the stories that ultimately led to Clemens' indictment and trial for perjury for denying to Congress he used performance enhancing drugs.

McNamee previously said that after 2001 he and Clemens never spoke about steroids and discussed human growth hormones only in 2003 when he procured them and injected Clemens' wife, Debbie. But in his new recollection, McNamee said the conversation occurred in passing as he and Clemens walked by the pool house where McNamee was staying at Clemens' Houston home to train the recently retired pitcher and other ballplayers during the off-season before spring training.

Clemens said he wanted to change his training program from one designed for a pitcher to one for body building, McNamee said. He said Clemens told him: "I want to get really huge. I want to get strong. Do you still have that guy?"

Yes, McNamee said he told Clemens. McNamee explained for the jury that "that guy" was steroid dealer Kirk Radomski, who testified earlier in the trial that he supplied McNamee with steroids and HGH.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Hardin asked McNamee why he had never told anyone else about this conversation, before, including federal agent Jeff Novitzky, investigators for Major League Baseball, staff and members of Congress, or the grand jury that indicted Clemens.

McNamee blamed it on "bad memory," and said he had forgotten because "nothing ever came of the conversation." Clemens, McNamee said, never followed up or asked him to get steroids or HGH from Radomski.

Hardin asked, "Mr. McNamee, do you sometimes just make stuff up?"

McNamee said, "No, I didn't make it up."

In McNamee's third day on the witness stand, Hardin took aim at the different stories McNamee has told in interviews with reporters and to investigators, federal officials and others.

"Would you agree with me that ever since you began making these accusations that your memory and details have evolved?" Hardin asked.

"Yes, sir," McNamee said.

Hardin began his attack on McNamee's credibility using a large white newsprint pad as a prop. Hardin told McNamee he would he ask him to put each of his changing stories into one of three categories, which he wrote in large letters on the pad: "Mistake, Bad Memory, Lie."

Though Hardin returned to it only two or three times, the prop remained for the rest of the session next to McNamee as he testified, in the line of view of the jurors.

Hardin's cross-examination of McNamee continues this morning.

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

You also may be interested in: