Federal investigators close Lance Armstrong probe with no charges brought... but USADA enquiry continues

Press release confirms federal investigation at an end, but anti-doping body to press on

by Simon_MacMichael   February 3, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Federal prosecutors in the United States investigating allegations of doping centred around Lance Armstrong and his former US Postal Service team have closed the case with no charges being brought against the seven-time Tour de France champion. However, the US Anti-Doping Agency has said that it will continue with its own enquiry into doping within professional cycling in the country.

A report in the Washington Post cited a press release from the office of United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. that confirmed that his staff “is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong.”

No reason was disclosed for the decision to close the case, but referring to why it had decided to formally anounce that the investigation had been closed, the statement continued:

“The United States Attorney determined that a public announcement concerning the closing of the investigation was warranted by numerous reports about the investigation in media outlets around the world.

“Mr. Birotte commended the joint investigative efforts of his prosecutors and special agents with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Service - Office of the Inspector General.”

However, in a statement issued in reaction to the news, USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart emphasised that his organisation's own enquiry would continue.

“Unlike the U.S. Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws," he said. "Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.

In response to the anoucement that the Federal investigation was over, "This is great news," said Armstrong's spokesman, Mark Fabiani.

"Lance is pleased that the United States Attorney made the right decision, and he is more determined than ever to devote his time and energy to Livestrong and to the causes that have defined his career."

Armstrong had hit the headlines earlier in the day when it was revealed that his LiveStrong charity was donating $100,000 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc for cancer screening after a controversial decision by another charity, Susan G Komen for the Cure, to end its previous funding.

The latter organisation has since reversed its decision to end funding as a result of the outcry, reports Business Week.

31 user comments

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I presume the Feds couldn't get enough to make charges stick. Doesn't change my opinion of the man.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [248 posts]
4th February 2012 - 0:09

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The Clinic might actually explode....

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [248 posts]
4th February 2012 - 0:10

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rob simmons your a massive Dick.

m.merritt

posted by matt merritt [1 posts]
4th February 2012 - 0:43

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matt merritt wrote:
rob simmons your a massive Dick.

You're new here aren't you, Matt?

posted by nick_rearden [858 posts]
4th February 2012 - 1:03

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I agree with the decision not to place criminal charges against Lance. The criminal law should not get involved in sport, especially over an issue such as this.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
4th February 2012 - 1:15

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A bit strange that no reason was given.

posted by sneakerfrfeak [66 posts]
4th February 2012 - 10:18

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'I agree with the decision not to place criminal charges against Lance. The criminal law should not get involved in sport, especially over an issue such as this.'

The doping per se...agreed. The vast amounts of money made on the back of fraud and deception*...surely that's a case for criminal charges?

*allegedly, and that.

posted by andyp [632 posts]
4th February 2012 - 11:06

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There is no smoke without fire in my opinion. Perhaps the US didn't want one of it's most famous sportsmen turned into a joke Thinking

Personally i dont think he was clean but he did have one hell of a lot of natural talent which, if he did take anything, is a shame.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2425 posts]
4th February 2012 - 12:12

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stumps wrote:
There is no smoke without fire in my opinion. Perhaps the US didn't want one of it's most famous sportsmen turned into a joke Thinking

I don't think that's how the Feds roll - they're about law enforcement, not PR. After all, Novitsky was the chap who nailed the Balco lab cheats and they were as big as Lance.

USADA are still on the case and their remit is strictly anti-doping, not law enforcement.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [248 posts]
4th February 2012 - 12:17

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It seems accepted that he is guilty of something, despite there being no evidence to prove such guilt. Until I see inscrutable evidence to the contrary I'd like to believe he, and all others faced with accusations, is innocent.

Unfortunately there only has to be the whiff of a rumour of something suspicious and lots of cycling fans will write you off as being a doper forever more. I don't see Mercx, Hinault and Anquetil faced with the kind of vitriol that is reserved for Armstrong and Contador.

It can never be proved that either didn't dope, because you can never prove a negative. So we must presume that they are innocent, lest we live in a society where the Sun newspaper and internet forums are judge and jury.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
4th February 2012 - 12:18

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italiafirenze wrote:
It seems accepted that he is guilty of something, despite there being no evidence to prove such guilt. Until I see inscrutable evidence to the contrary I'd like to believe he, and all others faced with accusations, is innocent.

Hmmm, the failed test in 99, EPO in the re-tests from 99, the confessions and accusations from key members of his team, anecdotal evidence from ex-employees, his hostility to anyone speaking up against doping, the failed tests by so many of his ex-teammates after they left the USP mothership, the dodgy 'donation' to the UCI, every single one of his rivals being busted for doping. Etc...

You're right, it seems very unreasonable to think that he did anything wrong.

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posted by Rob Simmonds [248 posts]
4th February 2012 - 12:28

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italiafirenze wrote:
I don't see Merckx, Hinault and Anquetil faced with the kind of vitriol that is reserved for Armstrong and Contador.

There are reasons for that:
- Doping at that time made much less of a difference. Only in the EPO-era could mediocre riders suddenly beat natural champions. So EPO-era dopers commit a worse offense.
- Doping was accepted at that time. We (partially) judge cyclists with the morals from the era they rode in.
- Armstrong is a huge dick.

Finally, presumed innocent is a concept from the courts, which has got nothing to do with the opinions of random people. 'We' can freely make up our own mind and judge for ourselves. 'Presumed innocent' only comes into play when we want the government to punish someone.

posted by Aapje [147 posts]
4th February 2012 - 12:51

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Aapje wrote:

- Armstrong is a huge dick.

You're new here, aren't you Aapej?

Ticktock

posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
4th February 2012 - 13:47

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Aapje .... "huge dick"??

If only there were more "huge dicks" in the world donating millions of dollars to cancer charities, we might be a better world.

Although, as a cancer patient myself, I might just have a different perspective to you?

I'm new here!

posted by veseunr [263 posts]
4th February 2012 - 15:10

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veseunr wrote:
Aapje .... "huge dick"??

Yes, as been proven time and again by how he behaved on and off the bike. I'm not the only one who feels this way:

http://www.billgifford.com/2009/07/yes-i-called-lance-armstrong-jerk.html

Quote:
If only there were more "huge dicks" in the world donating millions of dollars to cancer charities, we might be a better world.

Are you talking about Livestrong? If so, I hope you realize that the money is donated by others, not by Lance personally. I have no idea if he personally donated anything and I don't think you do either.

Quote:
Although, as a cancer patient myself, I might just have a different perspective to you?

Cancer is one of the most common diseases and pretty much anyone has lost relatives to it. So claiming moral high ground because you are a cancer patient is rather silly.

Livestrong is a cancer 'awareness' charity, which means that almost no money from the charity goes to actually fighting the disease. Just like a lot of the breast cancer charity racket, it does very little to actually fighting cancer, but is mostly succesful in making people feel good about themselves. It's also good at drawing money away from actual research, doing more harm than good IMO.

Lance was really smart to start up this charity, because it's great PR for him, despite not costing him much (donations are by others and those also pay for running the charity, so it only costs him a bit of his time). A while back, he started a for profit company: Livestrong.com, not to be confused with the non-profit: Livestrong.org. So now he can actually make money off people who think they are dealing with the charity. Great business model.

But hey, he is associated with a cancer charity, so he MUST be a good guy, right? That is how PR works and how you were duped.

posted by Aapje [147 posts]
4th February 2012 - 15:28

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Aapje - you seem to contradict yourself by saying

"Are you talking about Livestrong? If so, I hope you realize that the money is donated by others, not by Lance personally. I have no idea if he personally donated anything and I don't think you do either"

So if you dont know if he does or does not donate to charity how do you know that all the money donated by livestrong is from others Confused .

Basically you seem to have a huge chip in relation to Armstrong and no matter what he does or doesn't do it's wrong, thats your opinion which you are entitled to.

However I think you are bang out of order making comments about Veseunr, its not what the forum is about and not needed or wanted. Angry

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2425 posts]
4th February 2012 - 16:00

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Water of a duck's...

I was just saying maybe I have a different perspective. If you want to assume the moral low-ground .... well...you have!

posted by veseunr [263 posts]
4th February 2012 - 16:43

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Thanks for support Stumps

posted by veseunr [263 posts]
4th February 2012 - 16:46

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Obviously new! It's 'you're' not 'your' and I'm not sure 'Dick' needs a capital unless Rob is actually Richard? Wink

That said, swearing has no place on this site. Youtube's the place for name calling. Big Grin

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [929 posts]
4th February 2012 - 16:59

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My point is that it's not a personal charity fund like the Gates Foundation where all the money comes from 1 person. Lance Armstrong is not handing out 25 mln $ of his own money to other people every year. Someone else runs the charity and does that with other people's money. So the statement that Lance is 'donating millions of dollars to cancer charities' is simply not supported by facts. Perhaps he is, but until there is proof, it's just speculation and not an fact that one can use to argue that Lance is a good guy.

As for me having a beef with Armstrong, I have formed an opinion based on many years of following cycling. I believe that he was a driving force behind the continued use of doping in the peleton, even as the public opinion was changing and some people were making an honest effort to clean it up. I do feel strongly about that.

stumps wrote:
However I think you are bang out of order making comments about Veseunr, its not what the forum is about and not needed or wanted.

I saw it as him claiming the moral high ground for a silly reason, but in hindsight, I might have read the worst in the comment. For that, I apologize, although I don't think my comments were particularly mean towards him. Ultimately we all dislike cancer, so we can all agree that working to fight cancer is a moral thing to do.

However, I think we should be aware that not all charity work is actually effective and some people abuse charity for selfish reasons.

posted by Aapje [147 posts]
4th February 2012 - 17:18

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Ok mate apology accepted.

I think you will find that there are lots of things in life that are not effective - a bit like this current Govt Rolling On The Floor

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2425 posts]
4th February 2012 - 17:30

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rob simmons your a massive Dick.

m.merritt

Took all this time to sign up to leave a first comment like that (bad spelling aside- and couldn't even get Rob's surname correct)...way to go....it's a forum about cycling/bikes....time for kiddywinkles to go to bed methinks....

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [322 posts]
4th February 2012 - 17:35

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Whether the allegations are true or false, LA has done a tremendous amount of work for US Cycling and Cancer Awareness. I don't think it is a stretch that most cyclist in the US at least respect Lance for all that he has done.
At the end of the day, the negativity gets old... cycling is on the right path with testing (i hardly think anyone reading these comments has 'all' of the answers) and let's promote all of the young riders in the ranks and great looking bikes that roll out every new year!
That DeRosa Protos is dead sexy!

posted by dino [57 posts]
4th February 2012 - 19:45

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In his first book - It's Not About the Bike, the poor guy thought he was dying and I couldn't muster much sympathy for him. His objectionable personality tarnished the whole book....imo

On the doping side........he was (and still is) a great bike rider. But I can't believe he dominated the 'EPO years' riding clean,

posted by bauchlebastart [82 posts]
4th February 2012 - 21:22

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woah this post has gone a bit 'bike radar' everyone chill out, its the weekend and it isnt snowing so lets all calm down and not call each other or sportsmen we have never met dicks.

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
4th February 2012 - 22:24

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russyparkin wrote:
woah this post has gone a bit 'bike radar' everyone chill out, its the weekend and it isnt snowing so lets all calm down and not call each other or sportsmen we have never met dicks.

Looking out my window and the snow is belting down, no ride for me tomorrow. Crying

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2425 posts]
4th February 2012 - 22:54

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ah bad luck! devons the place to be, if theres a catastrophic world wide ice age, it would merely rain in plymouth

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
4th February 2012 - 23:03

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russyparkin wrote:
ah bad luck! devons the place to be, if theres a catastrophic world wide ice age, it would merely rain in plymouth

Possibly - but oh, HOW hard it would rain!

posted by mad_scot_rider [514 posts]
6th February 2012 - 11:31

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bauchlebastart wrote:

On the doping side........he was (and still is) a great bike rider. But I can't believe he dominated the 'EPO years' riding clean,

This.

Simple fact is that for decades the dominant forces in cycling partook in some sort of artificial and illegal enhancement - be it EPO, amphetamines, or whatever. Lance isn't the only great to be tarnished... check out this list, it's insane.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling

Thing is, there will have been a lot of riders who didn't want to cheat, who could never have the chance to compete fairly against those that did.

A level playing field (or as much as is possible) is needed for us to enjoy sport properly. Its why things like F1 are so boring, or rich foreign owners buying footy clubs ruin the game.

posted by bashthebox [527 posts]
6th February 2012 - 12:09

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And the fact that LA did win le Tour 7 times, having recovered from Cancer, makes him a truly remarkable person. Yes he doped, but so did everyone.

And I don't even like the man that much, from what I've seen of him. But sometimes that abrasive personality makes a phenomenal athlete. Never say die, never give up, fuck everyone else - I will win.

posted by bashthebox [527 posts]
6th February 2012 - 12:12

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