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Clemens Trial: McNamee Explains Why He Saved Evidence

Brian McNamee (L) leaves after testifying in the perjury and obstruction trial of Clemens on May 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Why did the government’s key witness in the perjury case against former pitcher Roger Clemens save needles and bloody gauze pads for years in a FedEx box he labeled “Clem”?

To get his wife off his back, he explained.

Brian McNamee told jurors Tuesday morning that his then-wife Eileen constantly complained about his frequent travel with Clemens in the summer of 2001.  Plans to travel with the family were too often cancelled at the last minute at Clemens’ whim, he testified.

“For the two weeks I'm home, I just wanted to be with my kids and not have any anguish with my wife,” McNamee explained. “What would make her not give me a hard time all the time?  It had to stop,” he said, his voice rising. “Who could live like that?”

McNamee said he “never lied to his wife,” and that she knew that he’d been giving Clemens injections for a few seasons.  He decided that he would show her the medical waste from the steroid and human growth hormone injections, and keep them in a box in their home.

“So, that's it.  I just saved it,” McNamee said.  “No intent of using this, ever. Ever,” McNamee volunteered, hoping to preempt the notion that he was saving the evidence to blackmail Clemens later.

“Why would that resolve the issue with your wife?” prosecutor Dan Butler asked.

“Because she kept saying, ‘You're gonna go down!  You're gonna go down! You're gonna go down, if something ever happened.’”

“I knew I was dealing illegal substances.  This was the best I could do,” McNamee pleaded.

He placed the material in a FedEx box, wrote “Clem” on the side, and kept it stored for years.  That material is now in the hands of federal authorities, who say it contains Clemens’ DNA and residue of performance-enhancing drugs.

The courtroom is bracing for Rusty Hardin’s cross-examination.  He’s expected to paint McNamee as a substance-abusing liar.  

The jury has returned for more direct examination by prosecutors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio