In Opening Argument, Prosecution Says Needles Have Clemens' DNA, Steroids

Originally published on July 13, 2011 5:22 pm

Lawyers delivered their opening arguments in the trial of former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens. Prosecutors told the jury that the government had needles and cotton swabs that had Clemens' DNA and anabolic steroids, while the defense said the evidence was faked.

NPR's Nina Totenberg summed up the first day of the case for our Newscast unit like this:

Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he denied under oath that he used steroids and human growth hormone. Prosecutor Steven Durham said that Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, had produced needles and cotton balls that contained Clemens' DNA, as well as steroids and human growth hormones. The prosecutor said McNamee would testify that he repeatedly injected Clemens with the illegal substances. But Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, suggested that McNamee had manufactured the evidence in order to escape prosecution himself. In this case, said Clemens' lawyer, all roads lead to McNamee, and "to put it delicately," he is a liar.

The AP adds that Hardin said steroids would have been "incredibly inconsistent with [Clemens'] career and beliefs that there's no way he would have done it."

USA Today's Daily Pitch reports that prosecutors promised 45 witnesses. One of them, Kirk Radomski, a former clubhouse assistant with the New York Mets, will testify that he sent a package with human growth hormone to Clemens' Houston home.

USAT adds that some of the witnesses "would corroborate McNamee's accounts that Clemens used performance enhancing drugs, including Clemens' former teammate and friend Andy Pettitte."

"We're not simply going to ask you to hang your hat on everything Mr. McNamee says," USAT quotes Durham as telling the jury.

The Clemens trial follows the April trial of slugger Barry Bonds, whom a jury found guilty of one charge of obstruction of justice, a charge related to lying to a grand jury investigating steroid use by elite athletes.

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