WASHINGTON - David Segui remembered “darts’’ but not dates.
The former major leaguer testified for the prosecution Thursday in the Roger Clemens perjury trial, and he would have made a much better witness if he kept a better mental calendar.
As it was, Segui was able to recall one specific moment that helped the government’s case: a telephone conversation he says he had with Clemens’s strength coach 11 years ago.
“He mentioned that he had kept darts to get his wife off his back,’’ Segui said.
With those words, Segui echoed the testimony of the six-week-old trial’s key witness. Brian McNamee told the jury last week that he saved a needle and other materials from an alleged steroids injection of Clemens in 2001. McNamee testified he was trying to allay his wife’s fears he would take all the blame if the drug use was discovered.
“He mentioned that the relationship between Brian and Roger had put stress on his married life. . . . Coming and going . . . leaving at the drop of a hat to go train,’’ said Segui, recalling other parts of the conversation.
Segui, who has acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs during his 15-year baseball career with seven teams, wasn’t allowed to say that “darts’’ means “needles.’’ The judge ruled that the jurors will have to make that assumption themselves - unless McNamee were to return to the stand to explain.
Segui, who became friends with McNamee when they met in Toronto during the 1999 season, also wasn’t allowed to relate a second, similar “darts’’ conversation because he couldn’t remember when it happened. He was certain it occurred before the publication of the 2007 Mitchell Report on drug use in sports, but that wasn’t good enough for US District Judge Reggie Walton.
“I’m not good with dates. I don’t log my life,’’ said Segui, who also couldn’t remember at what point during the ’99 season he was traded from Seattle to Toronto.
Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone. McNamee says he injected Clemens with both substances and saved some of the waste from the 2001 injection in a beer can.
Clemens’s lawyers have implied that McNamee conjured up the evidence after becoming the subject of federal and Mitchell Report investigators in 2007.
Segui, whom the government portrayed as a reluctant witness, said under cross-examination that McNamee didn’t attach a specific name to the “darts,’’ but that he knew McNamee was training Clemens at the time.