WASHINGTON - Trying to explain why his book suggested one thing and his testimony said something else, convicted drug dealer Kirk Radomski held up a copy of his 246-page tome called “Bases Loaded’’ while on the witness stand and gave as good as he got from one of Roger Clemens’s lawyers.
“Did you ever write a book?’’ said Radomski, who then issued a challenge to attorney Michael Attanasio. “Write a book! See how they turn things.’’
Clemens’s legal team used the book Wednesday to try to raise doubts about an old, torn label that Radomski said was used for a shipment of human growth hormone to Clemens’s home about 10 years ago. Clemens’s Houston address is on the label - a seemingly tangible connection between the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and performance-enhancing drugs - and the name on the label is that of Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former strength coach.
McNamee, whose much-anticipated testimony is expected soon, has said he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH. Clemens is on trial for allegedly lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using either substance.
Federal agents failed to find the torn label when they searched Radomski’s house in 2005. Radomski said he discovered it about three years later, under his bedroom television set along with some other shipping labels and autographed photos of Clemens and Clemens’s former teammate, Andy Pettitte.
“I have no idea how they got there,’’ said Radomski, theorizing they most likely slid under the TV at some point.
Attanasio wasn’t buying it. He read aloud a passage from “Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report’’ - a first-person book about selling steroids to professional baseball players. The book helped pay off Radomski’s debts. Concerning the label with Clemens’s address, the book states: “I’d obviously hidden it there when I began to worry that the government was going to come after me and had then forgotten about it.’’
Asked on Wednesday if he had hidden the label, Radomski insisted: “I didn’t hide nothing.’’ He went on to indicate that some things in the book are exaggerated or over-dramatized because he was told he needed nuggets that “would sound good.’’ He said the book was dictated to a writer in a series of interviews, not under oath as he was in the courtroom. He added that he also didn’t like the book’s cover, which depicts a bottle of pills inside a baseball glove.
The agent who led the search of Radomski’s home testified earlier in the trial that no one looked under the TV set because there was so much evidence - 18 boxes’ worth - lying out in the open.
Radomski, a former New York Mets batboy who became a drug supplier to major league players and then a cooperating witness after he got caught, said the shipment to Clemens’s house was for two kits of HGH with “about 50-100 needles.’’
The label displayed in court reads “Hold for B. McNamee’’ and doesn’t mention Clemens. But, in his book, Radomski incorrectly wrote that the label said: “Brian McNamee, c/o Roger Clemens.’’
“That was a lie,’’ Attanasio said.
Radomski responded that it wasn’t a lie, because he might have written Clemens’s name on the box underneath the label. When Attanasio suggested that part of the book was inaccurate, Radomski agreed: “That’s not correct in the book.’’
The label doesn’t have a date on it, so the government called US Postal Service manager John Gullo to verify it couldn’t have been sent earlier than June 2002. There’s no way to trace the shipment because records are destroyed after three years. During brief cross-examination, Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin gushed: “I’ve never met a mailing label expert before.’’
Despite Radomski’s years-long involvement with steroids and HGH and his relationship with McNamee, he offered no other connection between Clemens and performance-enhancing drugs beyond the shipping label. Answering a question from a juror, he said his conversations with McNamee about Clemens were all above-board.
“He would tell me what a hard worker he was,’’ Radomski said.
Also Wednesday, the government countered Clemens’s attempt to strike the testimony of Pettitte.
Pettitte testified last week that Clemens told him he had tried HGH, 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.