Ex-Trainer: "I'll Go To Jail" For Clemens

Roger Clemens, left, and his attorney Rusty Hardin listen as an audio tape is played during a news conference about alleged steroid use Monday, Jan. 7, 2008 in Houston. Clemens has filed a defamation suit against his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who claimed to have injected him with performance-enhancing drugs.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Roger Clemens' former trainer said he was willing to go to jail and repeatedly asked the pitcher "what do you want me to do?" during a 17-minute telephone conversation last week.

A recording of last Friday's conversation between Clemens and Brian McNamee was played Monday at the start of Clemens' news conference. Clemens' lawyers said that because McNamee didn't deny Clemens' claims that he never used steroids, it amounted to proof that Clemens was telling the truth.

"I'll go to jail, I'll do whatever you want," McNamee said during the conversation.

"I need somebody to tell the truth," Clemens said.

During the tape, McNamee never said he lied when he told baseball investigator George Mitchell last year that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

"I'm in your corner," McNamee said. "I'd also like not to go to jail, too."

Late Sunday, Clemens filed a defamation suit against McNamee in Texas state court.

Clemens was mostly expressionless while the tape played, even when McNamee said, "You treated me like family."

Clemens said McNamee initiated the conversation, which was laced with emotion and profanity. McNamee, a former strength coach for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, sounded as if he were a desperate man.

"I'm firing my lawyers. I'm getting rid of everybody," McNamee said. "My wife is gone. My kids are gone."

After the tape was played, Hardin said Clemens was willing to testify Jan. 16 to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Clemens and McNamee were invited to Washington along with Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch and Kirk Radomski, the former Mets' clubhouse attendant alleged to have provided McNamee with performance-enhancing drugs.

"I'm going to Congress and I'm going to tell the truth," Clemens said.

On the same day his interview about alleged steroid use was broadcast on "60 Minutes,"Clemens beat McNamee to court, filing a defamation suit against the former trainer who claimed to have injected him with performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens filed the suit Sunday night in Harris County District Court in Texas, listing 15 alleged statements McNamee made to the baseball drug investigator George Mitchell. Clemens claimed the statement were "untrue and defamatory."

"According to McNamee, he originally made his allegations to federal authorities after being threatened with criminal prosecution if he didn't implicate Clemens," according to the 14-page petition.

Richard Emery, one of McNamee's lawyers, said he would seek to remove the case to U.S. District Court in Houston, then to possibly shift it to federal court in Brooklyn.

"I think it's dismissible on its face. I think it's a press release for Clemens and his career," Emery said. "The case is shoddy at best. The prosecutors acted completely professionally in this case. This is a very odd thing for me to be saying, but it's the truth. Sometimes you are bound by the truth."