One of Lance Armstrong’s lawyers has told the BBC that he would welcome his client’s accusers being made to take lie detector tests – then made a hasty exit when it was put to him that the disgraced former Tour de France champion might also undergo such a test to prove his innocence.
The story has been widely reported under headlines giving the apparent impression that 'Armstrong could take lie detector test,' which seems to be a bit of a stretch given what was actually said.
Tim Herman, a partner at Austin, Texas-based Howry Breen & Herman and a trial lawyer of 40 years’ standing according to his biography on the firm’s website, was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.
After Herman insisted that many of the witnesses that had testified against Armstrong had benefited from “sweetheart deals, it was put to him: “Some of those eyewitnesses claim to have seen Lance Armstrong have blood transfusions.
“If those witnesses were to take a lie detector test, what would those lie detector tests show?”
Herman laughed. Perhaps that’s why, despite four decades’ courtroom experience, he didn’t hear the noise of the trap being cocked.
“I wish I knew,” he replied. “I don’t know. How would I know that?”
The interviewer pressed on. “Would it prove that Lance Armstrong didn’t do that?’
Herman responded, “Well I suppose a lie detector test, properly administered, I’m a proponent of that frankly, just personally. So I wouldn’t challenge the results of a lie detector test with good equipment, properly administered…”
The trap had been primed, and now it sprang shut.
“You know what the answer is, then – sit Lance Armstrong down and put him on the lie detector test and see how he does?”
The question seemed to catch Herman unawares.
“Well, we might do that, you never know. I don’t know if we would or we wouldn’t. We might, so…”
Suddenly, the tone of his voice changed, becoming more urgent as he made his excuses and terminated the call.
“Anyway, it’s been very nice talking to you…”
It’s impossible to tell whether someone else was sitting in the same room as him making ‘cut!’ gestures, but the idea is inescapable.
“Er, actually it hasn’t been all that nice,” Herman added. “But I’m just kidding. I need to run now.”
According to a synopsis of an episode of TV show MythBusters, made by Armstrong’s former team sponsor, Discovery Channel, it is “plausible to beat a lie detection test.”
Indeed, one person to have done just that is Armtrong’s former team made and now one of his chief accusers, Tyler Hamilton, who makes the admission that he fooled a lie detector test in his book, The Secret Race.
Discovery Channel ends its article with the wise words: “The best policy is probably to stay out of trouble in the first place.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.