The wife of former pitching ace Roger Clemens testified in his perjury trial on Friday that she received a shot of human growth hormone from her husband's ex-trainer, who says he also injected the performance-enhancing drug into Clemens.
Roger Clemens, 49, is on trial for a second time on federal charges of lying to a U.S. congressional committee in 2008 when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball at the time.
The trial is nearing its end after nearly two months of testimony as defense lawyers prepared to rest their case on Monday.
Debbie Clemens' testimony, on behalf of her husband, was meant to contradict that of Brian McNamee, a former strength and conditioning coach whose claims that he personally injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone have been the core of the government's case.
McNamee has said Roger Clemens asked McNamee to inject Debbie Clemens with human growth hormone in 2003 ahead of a Sports Illustrated magazine photo shoot, and that Roger Clemens was present for the shot given in their Houston home.
Human growth hormone is a drug that has been used by athletes to boost performance as well as by others to limit aging.
Debbie Clemens testified on Friday that it was her idea to get the injection, which she said occurred in 2000, and that her husband was away at the time.
"It was what I wanted to do," she said, dressed in a cream-colored suit. She explained that she saw the drug as "a fountain of youth, keep young kind of thing."
Debbie Clemens said her husband was not present and that he did know anything about the injection at the time.
"Are you sure?" Roger Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin asked.
"Absolutely," Debbie Clemens said.
New York Yankees' pitcher Andy Pettitte testified earlier in the trial that Roger Clemens, a former teammate, told Pettitte in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone but, years later, said he had been referring to his wife's use of the drug.
Prosecutors pointed out on Friday that Roger Clemens in his 2008 deposition testified that his wife's injection was in 2003.
Prosecutors also sought to suggest that Debbie Clemens would have only taken the drug after consultation with her husband.
"You didn't do any research prior to when you let (McNamee) stick this needle in you?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski, showing a photo of the Clemens' sprawling master bedroom and adjoining bathroom where the injection took place.
Saleski pointed out that a USA Today newspaper article about human growth hormone, which Debbie Clemens testified spurred her to talk to McNamee about the drug, said it should only be taken under a doctor's prescription.
Shifting in her seat, Debbie Clemens maintained that it was her idea. "(It was) spontaneous ... not enough thought," she said.
McNamee has testified he gave Roger Clemens shots of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone between 1998 and 2001. He said he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other waste for years, some of which, prosecutors say, contain Clemens' DNA.
Debbie Clemens also showed a receipt for a golf pro shop as evidence that she and her husband were at a golf course on the day of a 1998 pool party at the Florida home of Jose Canseco, a Toronto Blue Jays teammate and an admitted steroid user.
Prosecutors allege that Clemens was at the party, held during a series with the Florida Marlins. McNamee claims Canseco gave him steroid needles at the party to take back to Toronto. Clemens has testified before Congress that he did not attend it.
Roger Clemens' lawyers have sought to depict Clemens as a hard-working pitcher whose stunning late-career success was the product of dedication and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs.
He won 354 regular-season games and is a record seven-time winner of the annual Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in his league.
Roger Clemens won his final Cy Young Award in 2004 - the summer he turned 42 - in his first season with the Houston Astros.
After a rebuttal from prosecutors next week, both sides will make closing arguments and jury deliberations will begin.
Roger Clemens' first trial ended in a mistrial last year.
(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Eric Beech and Andrew Hay)