(WASHINGTON) -- Facing the former friend who has become his chief accuser in this perjury trial, Roger Clemens sat stone-faced Monday and stared directly at Brian McNamee as the one-time strength coach started recounting their first conversation about performance enhancing drugs.
Having left the NYPD and then taken a job as a strength coach in Toronto, McNamee – who played baseball in college – said, “It was great working with the best.... Roger was one of the best.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler methodically walked McNamee through his testimony, taking the jury step-by-step from his upbringing in Queens, to his college and police careers, all before his entrance into the major leagues as a bullpen catcher in the spring of 1998. Clemens was playing for the Toronto Blue Jays when the two met in Florida.
“It was all business, and then it turned into a friendship,” McNamee said of his budding relationship with Clemens.
McNamee says Clemens gave the trainer an under-the-table tip of $1,000 at the end of spring training, a gift he thought was wrong, but one he took anyway.
“He called it the ‘Jimmy Fund,’" McNamee said of the check in his name. “I didn't know what that meant. He told me not to tell the administration, because they would take that out of my salary.”
“I tried to give it back. I didn’t know the routine,” McNamee said.
“Did you want it?” Butler asked.
“No,” McNamee replied.
“Could you use it?” Butler continued.
“Sure, why not?” McNamee said, in a thick New York accent.
Before long, Clemens asked McNamee if he would need a place to stay in Toronto. The strength coach moved in with the star pitcher, at Clemens’ apartment in the Skydome Hotel.
Through his questioning, Butler had McNamee establish that the trainer knew next to nothing about sports medicine, particularly how to perform an injection. But then McNamee said his young son developed juvenile diabetes, and doctors trained him how to inject insulin.
Steroids apparently came up in conversation early in their friendship, McNamee says, with Clemens bringing it up at spring training.
“He didn't want to take a shot in the thigh,” McNamee said. “He asked if I wanted to help him out with a ‘booty shot.’”
Court is now in a brief recess.
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