Clemens' trainer in deposition

February 7, 2008 7:59:32 PM PST
Roger Clemens crisscrossed Capitol Hill, hoping a handshake and a smile would help his cause. His accuser, Brian McNamee, brought two photos showing syringes and vials and even a crumpled beer can in a bid to bolster his side of the story.

The star pitcher and his former personal trainer, once steadfast pals, each spent Thursday trying to persuade a House committee he is telling the truth about whether McNamee injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.

"Roger Clemens has put himself in a position where his legacy as the greatest pitcher in baseball will depend less on his ERA and more on his DNA," one of McNamee's lawyers, Earl Ward, said slowly, as though recalling a line from a script.

After meeting with lawyers from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for a seven-hour deposition, McNamee beat a path to an exit without saying a word to reporters. He left the talking to his trio of lawyers, who discussed the two color photos of items they say McNamee saved for several years and, when tested, will link Clemens to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Less than an hour later, also in the Rayburn House Office Building, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner held his own news conference, after wrapping up the first of two days of meetings with more than a dozen lawmakers, including committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis.

Clemens said little, but his lawyers repeatedly attacked McNamee's character and scoffed at the newly presented evidence.

"This man has a total history of lying," Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin said.

McNamee's lawyers called on Clemens to provide a DNA sample.

Asked about that, Hardin said the pitcher would comply with any request of that type from a federal authority.

"But they're going to have to come to us," Hardin said.

McNamee's attorneys did not know when the items would be tested - or when the results might be known.

"We look forward to the results of these tests," said another McNamee lawyer, Richard Emery, "and we look forward to just definitively finishing this whole controversy and ending this circus."

McNamee's attorneys said he turned over physical evidence to federal prosecutors, shortly after Clemens held a Jan. 7 nationally televised news conference at which he played a taped conversation between the two men.

"At that point," Ward said, "(McNamee) decided there was no holds barred."

One photo shows a beer can that Emery said was taken out of a trash can in Clemens' New York apartment in 2001. Emery said the beer can contained needles used to inject Clemens. That picture also shows what Emery said was gauze used to wipe blood off Clemens after a shot.

The other photo shows vials of what Emery said were testosterone, and unused needles - items the attorney said Clemens gave to McNamee.

While Clemens' camp called it "manufactured" evidence, Emery said the items were "just a collection of stuff" thrown in a box and "kept in a basement for seven years."

Emery said McNamee kept the items because he "had this inkling and gut feeling that he couldn't trust Roger and better keep something to protect himself in the future."

A relatively subdued Clemens said little at the news conference, essentially repeating the types of brief comments he made earlier Thursday as he walked through marble hallways.

"I'm just glad they made time in their schedule so I can go by and talk to them today," Clemens said shortly before stepping through the wood double doors to Davis' office.

Clemens met with Davis and Waxman for about 20 minutes, then signed an autograph for a bystander upon exiting. That was one of many times Clemens was asked to stop to affix his name to something or pose for a snapshot.

"I'm ready for Wednesday to get here," he said at one point, referring to the public hearing at which he, McNamee, Pettitte and others are to testify.

Clemens spoke to the committee Tuesday - the first time he addressed McNamee's allegations under oath, and therefore the first time he put himself at legal risk if he were to make false statements.

Thursday's bizarre events served as something of a dress rehearsal for Wednesday's session, which will be held in the same wood-paneled hearing room that housed the committee's 2005 hearing with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

That hearing was part of Congress' push to get baseball to toughen its drug program, increasing tests and penalties. It also led to former Senate majority leader George Mitchell's report on doping in baseball, which contained McNamee's allegations that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens repeatedly has denied those accusations.

The 45-year-old Clemens, who pitched for the Yankees last season, requested Thursday's meetings. He carried a white three-ring binder as he headed from one House office building to another, going through a garage and taking a freight elevator at one point.

"Because the perception out there was so strong originally that he did it and was lying, he's going to extra steps to try and persuade and make people comfortable with the fact that he didn't do it. He's having to take extraordinary measures because the allegations are extraordinary," Hardin said.

Hardin said Clemens was meeting with individual representatives "to assure them privately the same thing he's saying publicly - that he didn't take steroids, and he didn't take human growth hormone, and he's here to talk to anybody about it who wants to."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat on the committee, said after speaking with Clemens: "While he asked for the meeting, I wanted to make sure that when all the dust settles, that he fully understood that baseball players - whether they want to be or not - are role models and that children are looking at them."

AP Sports Writer Joseph White and Associated Press Writer Sarah Karush contributed to this report.