A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Lance Armstrong

Tour de Fraud

Lance Armstrong

By Mike Brancheau

In recent months, the world has watched as an international hero and celebrated champion confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs in all seven of his Tour de France victories.

Lance Armstrong’s rise to global fame began after a well-documented battle with testicular cancer in 1996 and 1997. His story captivated the world, and his consecutive Tour de France victories from 1999–2005 made him one of the most remarkable figures of perseverance and success in sports history.

His victory over cancer led to the creation of the Livestrong Foundation in 1997. The Livestrong Foundation benefited greatly from Mr. Armstrong’s widespread popularity and has since raised over half a billion dollars for cancer patients and their families.

While Mr. Armstrong garnered unbridled support from millions of people around the world, he was dogged by many who doubted his extraordinary success. In 2004, David Walsh, the chief sports writer for U.K. Newspaper The Sunday Times, and Pierre Ballester published “L.A. Confidentiel,” a book containing numerous allegations about Mr. Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In June 2004, the Times published an article that referenced the book and its doping allegations. In response, Mr. Armstrong sued the newspaper for libel in the United Kingdom. The parties reached a settlement in 2006. As part of the settlement, the Times released a public statement: “The Sunday Times has confirmed to Mr. Armstrong that it never intended to accuse him of being guilty of taking any performance enhancing drugs and sincerely apologized for any such impression.”

On December 23, 2012, Velo News reported that the Times is suing Mr. Armstrong to recover the money paid in the 2006 settlement, plus interest and legal fees. The article explains that after Mr. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in October 2012, the Times decided to pursue the lawsuit against Mr. Armstrong to recover the money that it had paid for, it turns out, stating the truth.

LASIS will explore further…

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Armstrong Retires, Still Fighting Drug Accusations

LanceArmstrong

By Paul Irlando

Lance Armstrong is retiring from professional cycling.  The seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor is calling it quits for the second time, after retiring in 2005 and then making a comeback in 2008 to try to win an unprecedented eighth Tour.  Mr. Armstrong, cycling’s greatest hero, or villain, depending on who you ask, announced on February 16, that he is leaving the sport again, amid allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) while racing on the United States Postal Service Team.  Having fought and overcome cancer and having conquered L’Alpe d’Huez, the Col du Tourmalet, and many other formidable Tour de France mountains, Mr. Armstrong now faces a new, and far more fearsome foe: Jeff Novitzky, the FDA agent heading the investigation against him.

Neither gentleman is new to the doping world.   Mr. Armstrong has been dogged by accusations that he took PEDs since the early nineties, despite never yielding a positive test (which speaks volumes considering that he has been one of the most tested athletes in all of professional sports).  Mr. Novitzky, while entering the scene more recently, quickly made a name for himself while investigating steroid use by major league baseball players in the now infamous BALCO case.

A January Deadspin.com article points out that Mr. Novitzky’s past is not without its own controversy.  In fact, it appears that Mr. Novitzky is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down professional athletes suspected of using PEDs, including breaking the law.

In January, Sports Illustrated ran an article on the case against Lance Armstrong.  The article lists a number of federal charges Mr. Armstrong could face if Mr. Novitzky convinces a grand jury to press charges, which it looks like he should be able to do.  As a practical matter, a federal grand jury will almost always return an indictment presented to it by a prosecutor, hence Judge Sol Wachtler’s famous saying that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” (more…)

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