Armstrong lawyer goes on offensive against USADA ahead of agency's report to UCI

USADA has said its reasoned decision for lifetime ban on former Tour de France winner will be sent to UCI by Monday

by Simon_MacMichael   October 10, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

One of Lance Armstrong’s lawyers has gone on the offensive against the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) ahead of the agency’s release of its reasoned decision to ban the former cyclist and strip him of results including his seven Tour de France titles. USADA has previously said that the decision will be supplied to the UCI no later than next Monday, 15 October.

"The rules require us to provide a reasoned decision in every case, and we are happy to let the evidence speak for itself," said USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner, quoted yesterday on the website of the newspaper USA Today.

She was responding to a letter sent by Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman to USADA’s attorney Bill Bock in which he hit out at the agency accepting testimony from “serial perjurers” and also criticised it for using lawyers from a firm that had previously represented tobacco companies.

"This reasoned decision will be a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco's favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America's leading anti-tobacco advocates," stated Herman. "While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig."

USADA applied its sanctions in August after Armstrong decided not to contest its charges through arbitration, as he was entitled to do.

In the days leading up to that, he had lost an action brought before a district court in Austin, Texas in which he had sought to establish that USADA had no jurisdiction in the case, and that it had infringed his constitutional right to due process.

In his letter, Herman apparently ignores that decision, continuing to insist that USADA lacks jurisdiction, among other things.

He claimed that USADA’s case was built on the evidence of “serial perjurers,” a reference, presumably, to Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who initially denied their own doping before subsequently confessing, and who are believed to be among the agency’s witnesses.

However, the agency is also understood to have witness statements from riders with a previously unblemished record such as George Hincapie, as well as evidence of positive tests by Armstrong that contradict Herman’s assertion that his client never failed a doping control.

"Fair-minded people will see whatever USADA issues is far from a 'reasoned decision' and is instead further evidence of the vendetta by USADA and its talebearers seeking publicity by targeting Mr. Armstrong, his business relations and the Lance Armstrong Foundation," added Herman.

One issue that is currently unclear is just how detailed the USADA report on Armstrong will be, at least in terms of what can be publicly disclosed, given that many of the same issues and witnesses are likely to form part of its case against his former manager at US Postal and elsewhere, Johan Bruyneel, who has chosen to fight the charges against him at an arbitration hearing scheduled for next month.

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Quote:
"This reasoned decision will be a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco's favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America's leading anti-tobacco advocates," stated Herman. "While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig."

So would Mr Herman like to list all of his clients throughout his entire career history of being a lawyer as well as those of his firm?

People in glasshouses should STFU.

posted by zanf [420 posts]
10th October 2012 - 10:54

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Seriously? They're insinuating that USADA is pursuing Armstrong for doping because Big Tobacco wants him neutralised?

That's an interesting theory. On the face of it it's less plausible than the idea that a successful cyclist doped at the height of the EPO era, but no doubt they'll be presenting the evidence for this conspiracy at the arbitration at which Armstrong will attempt to clear his name. Oh.

posted by BigDummy [279 posts]
10th October 2012 - 11:10

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This really is clutching at straws now

posted by Sadly Biggins [263 posts]
10th October 2012 - 11:42

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I think it's a measure of the desperation in the Armstrong camp that they're coming out with this crap.(See Gerard Vroomens blog which highlights more of the same http://gerard.cc/2012/10/09/fabiani-is-getting-old/)
It sort of suggests the evidence against Armstrong is that bad....

posted by Ducci [54 posts]
10th October 2012 - 12:04

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Desperate stuff from Larry's lawyers (are they being bullied? - so Larry the L**r is against tobacco but pro EPO - you couldn't make this stuff up

Sudor

posted by Sudor [179 posts]
10th October 2012 - 12:04

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Ok, this is now officially bonkers.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2940 posts]
10th October 2012 - 12:20

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I thought Armstrong was leaving this in the past, looking to the future, Mom, charidee, etc. etc. Perhaps he should tell his lawyers?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
10th October 2012 - 13:02

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Fair-minded people will see whatever USADA issues is far from a 'reasoned decision'...

No, fair-minded people think you should, as said above, STFU and that Lance whingey twat Armstrong should accept the fact that he's been properly done for cheating. Which he did.

Jeeez, what a tit. I don't know why I read this article, I knew it would wind me up.

posted by hoski [62 posts]
10th October 2012 - 13:09

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hoski wrote:
Jeeez, what a tit. I don't know why I read this article, I knew it would wind me up.

My work here is done Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7910 posts]
10th October 2012 - 13:40

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Monday Monday; Just another manic monday; and other song titles spring to mind. What prize for the first person to read and post a comment on this report from USADA on monday? Anyone know where and what time it will be published? Obsessed? Me?

posted by SideBurn [764 posts]
10th October 2012 - 14:27

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What's that coming over the hill? Oh, it's a vanishing twin.

posted by kitkat [191 posts]
10th October 2012 - 14:27

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.

posted by Clenbutador [15 posts]
10th October 2012 - 16:43

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Hincapie official statement following the hand over of the report is online now to! http://m.bicycling.com/news/pro-cycling/george-hincapie-admits-doping

posted by Pedals [40 posts]
10th October 2012 - 16:45

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Also three riders suspended from garmin! Tommy D, Dave z and van da velde! Good job its the end of the season Wink

posted by Pedals [40 posts]
10th October 2012 - 16:50

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Isn't it a bit pathetic that the ban handed down to some of these riders coincides with the off-season ? Now, I think the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that LA cheated, but then I wonder about the fact that some of that same evidence comes from riders who seem to have been given a very sweet deal.

Overall my impression is that something's rotten in the state of USADA.

posted by ethelthe [2 posts]
10th October 2012 - 18:05

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There is a principle in US law that a person is not convicted on non 'corpus electus' evidence alone. I presume (and I will check with my wife on this) that something similar would apply in the UK even though we don't officially support plea-bargaining.

Going by what I saw on the Sky ticker in the gym earlier (implying that I work out, although this could be stretching the definition somewhat) 11 of his former teammates are to testify against him. I think that means that they have plea-bargained for a lighter sentence, so their evidence isn't being given willingly (that's what corpus electus means).

It is not unlikely for Lance to annoy 11 of his former teammates, I'd expect he annoyed all of them at one time or another. He is unashamedly arrogant and that's not a good personality trait on anyone (and yes, that does sometimes include me!). It is also not unlikely for a big tobacco company to want to shut up his anti-cancer message.

As for Lance's lawyers naming all their clients they don't need to it'll all be in the public domain for any case that went to court.

Try to look at this objectively. If these 11 witnesses are telling the truth (and mass lying to have someone wrongly convicted has happened before and will happen again. See for example the Charlotte Dymond case http://www.bodminmoor.co.uk/bodmintic/) then there has to be substance to the allegations.

That is to say, they had to have come up with a method to avoid drug detection which is testable in laboratory conditions. It isn't enough after this much time to claim he doped, the sport (and all sports) need enough of the how, what, where and when to stop it happening again.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
10th October 2012 - 23:01

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hairyairey wrote:
There is a principle in US law that a person is not convicted on non 'corpus electus' evidence alone. I presume (and I will check with my wife on this) that something similar would apply in the UK even though we don't officially support plea-bargaining.

This case isn't governed under US law though.

It's governed by the World Anti-Doping Code, and that certainly allows reduced sanctions to be given where someone has co-operated.

Athletes have been convicted of doping offences on far less evidence than USADA has produced this evening, and that evidence isn't just witness testimony, though that is pretty damning.

Armstrong of course sought to challenge USADA's jurisdiction; and as soon as he lost that case in a US District court, he gave up - he forfeited his right to arbitration and, ultimately, his right to appeal any decision of an independent arbitration panel to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7910 posts]
11th October 2012 - 0:02

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@Hairyairey, I'd recommend reading the statement at http://www.usada.org/cyclinginvestigationstatement.html ... you'll see that they are basing the reasoned decision on far more than just 11 (tainted or otherwise) cyclists' allegations ... they will present "over 1000 pages" of evidence including "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong ..."

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [73 posts]
11th October 2012 - 0:02

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I will read the evidence when it's published and make a decision then. I trust the UCI will do the same.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
11th October 2012 - 9:10

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hairyairey: The UCI doesn't get to decide anything, except "will we appeal this to CAS?". The only body that could overturn the finding against Lance is CAS, and even if that happened it could be on legal technicalities (e.g. statute of limitations interpretation) that would have no effect on the validity of the evidence that Lance has doped since at least '98, and essentially forced others to do so - significantly corrupting the sport.

E.g., we know from the retrospective tests of the '99 TdF samples that the peloton was largely clean that year - that Lance was by far the biggest doper that year.

posted by Paul J [558 posts]
11th October 2012 - 12:29

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Just seen your comments PaulJ. I haven't seen the results of the retrospective tests and nor do I know under what conditions the samples were kept. Must make a start on reading the published documents soon.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
19th October 2012 - 23:50

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