Prosecutors grill McNamee's wife

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 06, 2012
A prosecutor highlighted discrepancies on Thursday between Eileen McNamee's testimony in the Roger Clemens trial this week and what she told the FBI three years ago. Eileen McNamee, the estranged wife of Clemens' chief accuser, Brian McNamee, had testified Wednesday that when she asked her husband about a FedEx box she discovered in their home, he told her it was for his protection and wasn't any of her concern. She also said he didn't mention Clemens or any other players. But on cross-examination, prosecutor Courtney Saleski asked her about a 2009 FBI interview in which Eileen McNamee said her husband told her the contents of the box were from players. ''I don't recall,'' replied Eileen McNamee, a witness for the defense. Brian McNamee testified last month that he used the FedEx box to store medical waste from an injection of Clemens in 2001, and his wife said this week she discovered it around that time. She testified Wednesday that saw the box again two or three years later in her husband's bedroom closet and that it was open, and that she pulled out the contents and saw some vials and what appeared to be unused needles. Yet, Saleski said, Eileen McNamee had told the FBI that the box remained sealed in the house. ''I don't recall. I was very nervous. I had two FBI agents approach me after school,'' the teacher replied. She said she only remembered ''bits and pieces'' of that interview because she was shaken up. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is charged with lying when he told Congress in 2008 that he never used steroids or human growth hormone. Brian McNamee, his former strength and conditioning coach, is the only witness to claim firsthand knowledge of the pitcher using those substances. Eileen McNamee also said she was furious with both her husband and Clemens when the former pitcher's lawyers allowed details of the McNamees' oldest son's diabetes to be revealed during a 2008 nationally televised news conference. At the news conference, Hardin played a taped phone call between the two men in which McNamee told Clemens, ''My son is dying.'' That wasn't true, Eileen McNamee said, although she had left her husband a message around that time about blood test results that weren't what they were supposed to be. ''Brian didn't bother to call me back. He called Roger, and told him his son was dying,'' she testified. Then her 10-year-old son heard the news conference, and, ''Now my son thinks he's dying.'' Saleski said that Clemens could have kept the information about her son out of the news conference, but instead, ''he played it for the world.'' ''Yes, he did,'' Eileen McNamee said. She acknowledged that she called her husband and told him to go after Clemens. That morning around 3 a.m., Brian McNamee, who was not living in the house, came by to pick up the FedEx box. ''I asked him where he was going, and he said he was heading to his lawyers, and he was out the door,'' she recalled. Brian McNamee had testified that he decided to turn over the evidence to federal authorities against Clemens ''because of what he did to my son.'' On redirect questioning, Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin asked if she knew that it was Clemens' lawyer's decision to play the tape. When the judge sustained an objection, he asked if she knew whose decision it was. ''Yes, I was told -- by you,'' she said. And yet, Hardin said, she is testifying in the trial. ''Yes, because I didn't have a choice,'' said Eileen McNamee, who was subpoenaed to testify. Under additional questioning from Saleski, she said that Hardin had apologized for playing the tape. ''But you're still as angry as can be at your husband?'' Saleski asked. Eileen McNamee said that was true. She also told Saleski there hadn't been any bad blood between the two men, and agreed that her husband idolized Clemens and would have done anything for him. Saleski elicited those answers to try to discredit the defense theory that Brian McNamee had a motive to fabricate evidence against Clemens. On Wednesday, Brian McNamee had portrayed her as a shrill wife whose incessant nagging prompted him to save the medical waste he stored in the FedEx box. McNamee told the jury last month that she was worried he'd be the fall guy if there were a drug investigation and yelled at him, ''You're going to go down! You're going to go down! You're going to go down!'' McNamee, Clemens' strength coach at the time, said he brought the needle, swab and cotton ball from the injection home and showed it to her to reassure her. Called to testify by Clemens' lawyers on Wednesday, Eileen McNamee seemed the antithesis of the woman described by her husband. Soft-spoken and calm, she said she didn't even know back then that her husband was injecting players with steroids and human growth hormone, or HGH. While their accounts differ in many ways, they do dovetail in one key respect: McNamee's motive. He testified that his wife ''might be right'' about him being the fall guy, and he told congressional investigators in 2008 that he saved the material because of a ''gut feeling'' stemming from not fully trusting Clemens. Eileen McNamee was granted immunity before her testimony because her husband linked her to transactions involving prescription drugs that could, in theory, have led to charges against her.
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