WASHINGTON (AP) – In a brushback reminiscent of Roger Clemens the pitcher, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton had a message for former major leaguer David Segui if he defies a prosecution subpoena to testify in the trial: “He better be on the run, because the marshals will be after him.”
But Clemens the criminal defendant wasn’t pleased, as Walton hinted Wednesday that, over defense objections, he probably will let the government call Segui in the perjury trial. Prosecutors want to question him about a conversation around 2001 in which Clemens’ strength coach, Brian McNamee, is said to have told Segui he had saved “darts” — that is, needles — from his injections of players in order to placate his wife.
That would be consistent with McNamee’s testimony in the trial that he saved medical waste from the injections because his wife was worried he would end up getting the blame for them later. The government also wants to call another witness who backs up McNamee’s testimony, and the judge indicated he probably would permit that too.
With jurors out of the courtroom, Walton said he’d think about the issue overnight and rule Thursday morning when the trial resumes. But even Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin, toward the end of a spirited attempt to keep the testimony out, admitted he was probably going to lose this one.
“I don’t want to beat a dead horse,” he said, before taking another stab at changing the judge’s mind.
“I’m not dead yet, I’m still listening,” Walton said, prompting laughter in the courtroom — none louder than Hardin’s. One person not amused was Clemens, who didn’t even crack a smile.
Prosecutor Courtney Saleski told Walton that Segui, who retired in 2004 after 15 major league seasons, “doesn’t want to come” even though he’s under subpoena.
“If he doesn’t show up, he’ll be arrested like anyone else,” Walton replied calmly.
McNamee testified last week that after he injected Clemens with steroids in 2001 he stored the medical waste in a beer can to allay his wife’s fears that he would become the fall guy if his involvement with drugs in baseball was ever exposed.
Clemens is accused of lying to Congress in 2008 when he said he had never used steroids or human growth hormone. McNamee testified that he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000.
Hardin’s zealous cross-examination of McNamee last week has given the government opportunities to seek admission of additional evidence. On Monday, Walton ruled that Hardin had opened the door for McNamee to name other players to whom he had supplied HGH, something the defense had fought vigorously to keep from the jury.
Now the government says it should be allowed to rebut defense claims that McNamee, who was contacted by federal agents in 2007, fabricated allegations and evidence against Clemens to stay out of jail.
Segui and Anthony Corso, who was one of McNamee’s private workout clients in New York City, could help the government make that rebuttal. Corso is expected to testify that he was told by McNamee as early as 2002 that Clemens used HGH, and that in 2005 he was told by McNamee about the saved evidence from a 2001 injection.
Hardin argued that the defense has never contended that McNamee made up the beer can evidence recently. Hardin told the judge that McNamee created it to save as a “hole card” as a way to possibly extort Clemens one day.
Walton said there was no evidence to support Hardin’s contention. Besides, the judge added, “If what you’re saying is true, then why did you beat on him so much about his desire to appease the government?”
Earlier in the day, a government witness, Gene Monahan, longtime head trainer of the New York Yankees, told jurors that Clemens and McNamee had a “close relationship.” He also said McNamee didn’t have authority to inject any players, part of the prosecutors’ rebuttal of Clemens’ claim that the injections he received from the strength coach were vitamin B12, not steroids.
One of the false statements Clemens is alleged to have made to Congress is that “four or five needles” containing the vitamin would be “lined up ready to go” in the trainers’ room after games. Monahan said he never lined up vitamin B12 needles for players, and never saw the needles lined up.
But one problem prosecutors have faced in calling associates of Clemens is that they tend to also offer flattering portrayals of the former pitcher under cross-examination. That happened again with Monahan.
“No question he was a leader … with the old and the young and everybody in the middle,” Monahan told Hardin. Monahan called Clemens a “mother duck” to the other players, prompting a rare laugh from Clemens, and said he never suspected the pitcher of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Prosecutor Steven Durham followed up on Monahan’s comment that Clemens would “find a way” to succeed.
“Would he adapt to overcome circumstances?” Durham asked.
“Absolutely,” Monahan said.
Left unsaid by the government — at least right then — was the idea that adapting might mean using steroids.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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