The wife of retired baseball star Roger Clemens testified Friday she received a shot of human growth hormone in 2000, but she resisted the prosecution contention that her husband was involved with the injection.
Debbie Clemens, testifying in support of her husband of 28 years, countered statements from the chief prosecution witness, Brian McNamee, who told jurors that Roger Clemens was present for the shot. Debbie Clemens said the shot was not planned. “It just happened,” she said.
Debbie Clemens’s testimony is critical for the defense team as it tries to undermine the credibility of McNamee, who said he injected Clemens with human growth hormone and steroids during his professional baseball career.
Clemens is charged in Washington’s federal district court with lying to Congress in 2008 about using performance enhancing drugs. Clemens’s defense lawyers portray McNamee as a serial liar who set out to exploit, for personal gain, his relationship with Clemens.
Debbie Clemens said Friday she didn’t think the growth hormone shot was illegal. She also told jurors that she had no reason not to trust McNamee. "I thought he was fully capable. I thought he was pretty legit,” she said. She described the shot as a “spontaneous, no-brainer” moment.
“It was what I wanted to do,” Debbie Clemens testified. She said she is not ashamed for having taken the shot.
Debbie Clemens testified her husband was not in the bathroom when she received the shot from McNamee, contradicting McNamee’s statements to investigators and to the jury.
McNamee said Roger Clemens was in the room then and insisted that it was OK that his wife receive the shot. Roger Clemens, according to McNamee, said: “He injects me. Why can’t he inject you?”
On cross-examination, an assistant U.S. attorney, Courtney Saleski, jumped right into Debbie Clemens’s use of human growth hormone. Saleski quizzed Debbie Clemens on why she would allow McNamee, who is not a doctor, to inject her.
The prosecutor, through questions, noted that Debbie Clemens didn’t do any research or talk to anyone about the shot before she received it.
“I didn’t think this was a bad thing, and I still don’t,” Debbie Clemens said. Debbie said she received the shot days after reading about human growth hormone in a USA Today article in 2000.
Saleski, however, seemed to doubt the story that Debbie Clemens ever read the article, titled "Boomers believe they've found a fountain of youth in a syringe." Debbie Clemens didn't recall some details from the piece, saying she read the article a long time ago.
"So your saying now you didn't read the article?" Saleski asked at one point. "No. I read the article," Debbie Clemens responded.
Debbie Clemens also testified about circulation problems she experienced after the growth hormone shot. Saleski questioned why she didn’t call a doctor. “It didn’t escalate to any problems so there was no reason to call any doctor,” she said.
Debbie Clemens said if her heart were doing “something crazy,” she would have called a doctor. The circulation issue, she said, was “a concern.”
Later in the morning, Rusty Hardin, Clemens's top defense lawyer, told Debbie Clemens that "it's almost over."
"Praise God," Debbie Clemens said.
The Clemens trial is expected to at least last into early next week.