WASHINGTON - Former slugger Jose Canseco said he told a federal grand jury Thursday that he had never seen Roger Clemens use steroids, maintaining the support he’s shown for the former ace since 2008.
Canseco, wearing jeans, a black shirt and a dark blazer with silver embroidered designs, described his testimony to reporters after his two hours of testimony. The grand jury has been hearing witnesses as it considers whether to indict Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress two years ago, when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone.
Canseco maintained his support for the pitcher, again saying there’s no evidence that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs.
“I had my suspicions back then of a lot of players because it was so rampant in the game of baseball,” he said. “But if you ask me if I have any solid evidence, did I ever inject Roger Clemens or put him in contact or did he ever use steroids. Never.”
In the proceeding, he said he was asked about his own steroid use and about comments players made about steroid use that are mentioned in his book, “Juiced.” Canseco said Clemens knew about his drug use, but never asked to get in touch with suppliers.
“I definitely spoke to Roger Clemens about steroids just like a lot of other players, but what we didn’t talk about was Roger Clemens using steroids,” he said.
Canseco was accompanied by his attorney, Gary Holmes of the Raines Law Group in Beverly Hills, Calif. The former player’s statements are consistent with what he previously conveyed in a March 2008 affidavit.
In addition, Canseco said he was shown a photo of himself, Clemens and Brian McNamee in Yankee Stadium. McNamee, Clemens’ former personal trainer and a star witness, testified May 25 before the grand jury.
McNamee said in the 2007 Mitchell Report that he injected the 354-game winner with steroids and HGH at least 16 times. Clemens denied the allegations, and both repeated their conflicting claims at a congressional hearing in 2008.
During Thursday’s proceeding, Canseco said he was asked about who attended a pool party at his Miami home in 1998. He said he reiterated that Clemens did not attend. The party has been an issue because McNamee has said Clemens spoke with Canseco and soon afterward approached the trainer about using performance-enhancing drugs.
Canseco said he was shown a couple of pictures of Clemens in Canseco’s pool, but those were not taken at that party. He questioned McNamee’s credibility.
“He’s an absolute liar. I challenge him to polygraph me,” he said. “It’s his word against mine. Who are you going to believe?”
The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses for at least 16 months. Canseco said he hopes it’s coming to an end.
“I think everybody’s hoping that this is coming to a wrap. It’s been a long time coming up,” he said. “There’s got to be better ways of spending taxpayers’ money.”
Canseco said he couldn’t tell if the grand jury was trying to make an example out of Clemens, but he said baseball has come a long way in combating steroid use.
“I think everyone’s done a great job to put this steroid era behind us,” he said. “Major League Baseball has definitely cleaned up the game.”
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