(WASHINGTON) — In a halting voice, the prosecution’s key witness against former baseball star Roger Clemens recounted for jurors how he injected his now-former friend with steroids for the first time in the spring of 1998.
Clemens sat upright, staring sternly at Brian McNamee the witness box.
“In 1998, I didn’t know much about [anabolic steroids]” McNamee, then the Toronto Blue Jays’ strength coach, told the jury. “It wasn’t something I needed to know about.”
But McNamee said he had begun to do some reading – in magazines, mainly – about steroids. He learned that oral steroids are more toxic, injections less so. He says he had discussed performance-enhancing drugs with players. And one day that spring, McNamee said Clemens asked him for help with a “booty shot.”
“Roger had come to me in the locker room,” McNamee said, asking “Are you available tonight?”
“I knew exactly what he was saying.”
That night, McNamee says, Clemens handed him steroids in a ziplock bag full of brown ampoules, tiny glass bottles the user is required to break. The bottles read “testosterone.”
McNamee, an ex-cop, says he was nervous.
“It was a little uncomfortable, because I’d never done that before,” he testified. “I’d never broken off a bottle cap, where you have to break glass.”
And McNamee said Clemens never told him the source of the drugs.
“Why didn’t you ask?” prosecutor Daniel Butler inquired.
McNamee answered abruptly. “Don’t ask, don’t tell. I didn’t want to know.”
McNamee said he cracked the glass ampoule, loaded the syringe and walked nervously from Clemens’s bathroom to his bedroom.
“Roger pulled down his pants, exposing his right buttocks. He bent his leg and started to flex his butt and said, ‘I’m ready. Just make sure there’s no air bubbles in it, right?’”
“I injected him and plunged the fluid into his buttocks,” McNamee said. “It looked like it was a clean strike.”
“Wow, that was really easy,” Clemens said per McNamee’s account, before turning the conversation to “pleasantries” like, “So, what are you doing tonight?”
McNamee testified that it seemed to him, Clemens had done this before.
“I knew what I was doing was illegal,” McNamee said. Fourteen years later, McNamee now says he only wanted “to help.”
“I did what I was asked, and I shouldn’t have. I made a mistake, and I wish to God I could take it back. I was young,” McNamee, who was 30 years old at the time, said Monday.
McNamee says he continued to inject Clemens eight to 10 more times that season, including once hurriedly in a “cubbyhole” – a utility closet — at the clubhouse in Tampa Bay.
On cross examination, which will likely start Tuesday, Clemens’s attorneys are expected to savage McNamee’s credibility.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire