Former Drug Dealer Livens Up Clemens Trial
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Kirk Radomski, who provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of major league baseball players, injected some much needed energy into a plodding prosecution case at Roger Clemens’ perjury trial.
The one-time New York Mets batboy got jurors’ attention Tuesday by standing, opening his suit coat and demonstrating on his broad-shouldered body how human growth hormone and steroids are delivered. Even sitting, he leaned in, made eye contact and generally held court with the jurors in ways other witnesses have not.
Radomski talked so quickly in his New York accent that he had to be slowed down several times, both by the prosecutor and the court reporter. And he played up his street smarts over book smarts.
“You’re asking the wrong person to spell,” he quipped when asked to spell one of the many steroids he mentioned. When he botched the pronunciation of another word, he said: “Hey, I’m from the Bronx. I’m not a scholar.” He boldly suggested that U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton get an “orthopedic chair” to deal with recurring back problems. He knocked on the witness stand three times to describe the “knock at the door” when feds arrived to search his house in 2005.
Displaying New York chutzpah, Radomski testified that he had taken steroids and HGH for 15 years, and then proudly declared, “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any drugs.”
“I’m a health nut,” he added. “I take care of my body.”
Radomski cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty to money laundering and distribution of a controlled substance in 2007. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and fined $18,000. He said he’s started his own supplement company, including “a fat burner and a natural testosterone builder.”
The pace of the trial quickened Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the judge had scolded both sides for dragging out the trial and told them they were making it too “boring” for jurors, who were getting “fed up.”
Even Clemens, who has been watching without expression during most of the trial, was more animated during Radomski’s testimony. He tapped his fingers a lot, stared more intently and rubbed his hair and face.
Meanwhile, in a written response filed Wednesday morning, prosecutors opposed Clemens’ attempt to strike the testimony of former teammate Andy Pettitte. Last week, Pettitte testified that Clemens told him he had tried human growth hormone, only to say under cross-examination that he might have misunderstood Clemens. A defense motion on Monday had argued that Pettitte’s testimony had “all the weight of a coin flip” and asked that the jury be instructed not to consider the conversation between the two pitchers. The government responded that the jury must be allowed — “if it desires” — to credit Pettitte’s initial testimony and “discount any cross-examination inconsistencies.”
Also Wednesday, Judge Walton dismissed a juror because he had been sleeping and showing up late for trial. During jury selection, the juror, an unemployed man in his 20s, said he’d rather be sleeping than be in court but promised to be “wide awake” if selected. The jury has four alternates.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is accused of lying to Congress when he denied using steroids and HGH. If prosecutors are able to convict him, it will be with the help of Radomski, a former ice cream truck driver who was a lowly batboy when Clemens was in the prime of his career.
Radomski’s key piece of evidence is a shipment of HGH he said he sent to Clemens’ house about a decade ago. Radomski showed the jury an old, torn shipping label he found under his television set in his bedroom in June 2008. Federal agents had failed to find the label when they searched his home three years earlier — because they apparently didn’t look under what Radomski called his huge, old-model “dinosaur of a TV.”
The label was addressed to Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former strength coach, at Clemens’ home address in Texas. Radomski said the shipment was for two kits of HGH — “about 50-100 needles” — and estimated it took place in 2002.
McNamee, who will testify later in the trial, has said he injected Clemens with HGH and steroids.
Clemens lawyers have already mocked the label as having “magically” surfaced, and they are sure to attack it during cross-examination. The defense is also expected to emphasize that the label lists McNamee, instead of Clemens, as the recipient. McNamee often stayed at Clemens’ house during training sessions.
Radomski described how he started taking steroids himself as a teenager around 1990 because he wanted to bulk up his small frame. He then became a seller, first of steroids and then HGH, and met McNamee through a ballplayer they both knew.
Radomski said baseball players, and especially pitchers, didn’t want to build muscle from steroids, but instead wanted to build endurance. That could help neutralize one of the defense’s main arguments, that Clemens’ body didn’t change that much from the beginning to the end of his 24-season career.
Clemens’ lawyer Michael Attanasio got only about 15 minutes to cross-examine Radomski before the trial adjourned for the day, but it was enough to get a lively exchange going. Attanasio pressed Radomski to acknowledge that he lived off his drug-dealing “business.” Radomski denied that and said he worked other jobs.
Holding up his hands, he said, “These are the hands of a hard-working guy.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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