The star witness in a possible perjury case against Roger Clemens testified before a federal grand jury Tuesday, a sign that the panel could be nearing a decision on whether to indict the seven-time Cy Young Award winner for allegedly lying to Congress.
Brian McNamee, Clemens' former personal trainer, spent more than 2 1/2 hours inside the courthouse where the grand jury meets. Wearing a dark suit, a bright blue tie and accompanied by two lawyers, McNamee gave a quick wave to reporters as he left the meeting rooms but did not speak.
"No comment,'' said one of his lawyers, Richard Emery. "Everything is fine.''
The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses for at least 16 months as it tries to decide whether a case can be made that Clemens lied under oath in 2008 when he told a Congressional committee that he had never taken steroids or human growth hormone. It is not known how many witnesses have come forth or been subpoenaed because the process is conducted in secret, but a former pitcher (Jason Grimsley), a former gym owner from Texas (Kelly Blair) and a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant (Kirk Radomski) are among those who have passed through the third-floor courthouse doors.
"They've been very deliberate about it,'' said Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin. "And we don't have any idea where it stands. We're just waiting like everybody else. They have been at it a long time, but that's not for me to comment on. We'll be really glad when there's a decision one way or the other.''
McNamee is Clemens' chief adversary in the case and could be considered a logical final witness for the jury. There is at least one more witness on the itinerary – former slugger Jose Canseco on June 3 – but he was originally set to testify in April before scheduling conflicts forced a pair of postponements.
McNamee, once close friends with Clemens, claimed in the 2007 Mitchell Report that he injected the 354-game winner with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens denied the allegations, and both repeated their conflicting claims at a congressional hearing on Feb. 13, 2008, with Clemens saying: “I have never taken steroids or HGH.''
Lawmakers then asked Justice Department to launch a probe into whether Clemens lied, and the case was brought to the grand jury after an 11-month FBI inquiry. In January 2009, McNamee met for five hours with Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Butler, who is leading the investigation and has been presenting evidence to the grand jury.
McNamee also turned over to government agents bloodied syringes, vials, gauze pads and other items his lawyers said would link Clemens to drug use. Clemens' camp has said those items are "manufactured'' evidence. Clemens also filed a defamation suit against McNamee; the case was dismissed by a lower court, but Clemens is appealing.