Wife says she took HGH - and Clemens wasn't there

By Joseph White

Associated Press

Published: Friday, June 8 2012 3:33 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this July 6, 2011 file photo, former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, with his wife Debbie Clemens arrive at federal court in Washington. Debbie Clemens testified Friday that her husband was not present when she received a shot of human growth hormone from Roger Clemens' strength coach _ testimony that contradicts the star pitcher's chief accuser in the perjury trial.

Alex Brandon, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — While it's an open question whether jurors think Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing substances, they now know one thing for certain: His wife sure did.

She said it happened on a whim, inspired by a newspaper article with the headline: "Boomers believe they've found a fountain of youth in a syringe." She said it happened in her posh master bathroom, which she described as being "like the size of a kitchen." She said she pulled up her shirt so that Brian McNamee could pinch her skin and inject her in the belly. She said no one else was there. She said she didn't even tell her husband it was happening.

In fact, she said her husband was away, even though the reason McNamee would have been staying at the Clemens' house would have been to train Roger Clemens.

And, she said that when she told her husband about it later on the phone, she didn't have to tell him what human growth hormone — HGH —was.

"I don't think he thought it was bad," she testified. "It wasn't like doing heroin or something crazy."

Debbie Clemens was always going to be a risky witness for her husband, and that was the case Friday as the perjury trial of the former pitcher reached the end of its eighth week. The defense is expected to rest Monday, and the jury could perhaps begin deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.

Roger Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids and HGH. He's also charged with obstructing Congress by telling 13 alleged untruths. Among them: Roger Clemens' claim that his wife's injection occurred without his prior knowledge or approval, and his claim that he wasn't at Toronto Blue Jays teammate Jose Canseco's Florida house on or about June 9, 1998.

Debbie Clemens contradicted that second statement outright: She said the Clemens family — Roger, Debbie, four sons, Debbie's brother and a nanny — spent the night at Canseco's house during the June 8-10 series of games against the Florida Marlins. The only debate is whether they were present for a mid-day pool party, an event McNamee has tied to the first steroids shot he said he gave Clemens a few days later.

"We did not attend a party at Jose Canseco's house," Debbie Clemens said.

It appears, therefore, that the best shot that Clemens' lawyers have at avoiding a guilty verdict on the Canseco statement would be to persuade the judge or jury that it isn't relevant to the steroids-HGH matter as a whole. Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin has also said throughout the trial that sometimes an untruth should be classified simply as a "mistake."

As for Debbie Clemens' HGH shot, that's something sports fans who've followed the case have known about for years, even if some of the details have been in dispute.

But the baseball-ignorant jury had heard the particulars described only once — by McNamee during his five-plus days of testimony when he also described injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001. While McNamee and Debbie Clemens gave differing accounts, her testimony might have bolstered his credibility: The jurors now know he was telling the truth when he said he gave her an HGH shot during one of his extended stays at the Clemens' home in Houston.

McNamee said Roger Clemens was present for the shot. McNamee said he performed it while standing behind Debbie Clemens, reaching around her to inject her near the belly button. He estimated it could have happened anytime from 2002 to 2004. He quoted Debbie Clemens as saying to her husband: "I can't believe you're going to let him do this to me," to which Roger Clemens responded, "He injects me, why can't he inject you?"

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