- "We have progressed way beyond the rumor stage," said Laurie Levenson, a Los Angeles-based criminal law professor for Loyola University. "They are actively engaged in the grand jury stage, most likely with their eye toward an indictment. They are at the wrapping up stage rather than the beginning stage."
- Peter Keane, a law professor at the Golden Gate University School of Law, agreed. "The kind of momentum that we are seeing in the Armstrong case is the same kind of momentum we saw in the past in the (Barry) Bonds case and with other Olympic athletes," Keane said.
- "The government definitely has more options towards criminally proceeding against Armstrong," Keane said. Where with Bonds and other athletes there were perjury questions, he said, the Armstrong case "looks more and more like he is the target of a government fraud investigation."
- Levenson agreed, saying the probe appears to have pulled in a wide parameter of witnesses, from athletes to team doctors to cycling organizations."The government definitely has more options towards criminally proceeding against Armstrong," Keane said. Where with Bonds and other athletes there were perjury questions, he said, the Armstrong case "looks more and more like he is the target of a government fraud investigation."
Incidentally, in other places I've read that there is a long list of potential charges that include defrauding the US government, drug trafficking, acting as a physician without a license, endangering public health, and money laundering. Several government agencies are purported to be involved in the investigation in addition to the FDA including the FBI and IRS.
In other news, it is also being speculated that a key partner with the US Postal team who helped fund its predecessor team, Montgomery-Bell, Thomas Wiesel is being investigated for his role in the various illegal acts surrounding Armstrong. Wiesel is a wealthy financier who reportedly had poured a lot of money into the Montgomery-Bell team with little results and wanted more success. This quote is particularly interesting:
In 1995, the year Hamilton signed up for Weisel's team, the San Francisco investment banker was frustrated with what had become an expensive hobby, according "Capital Instincts: Life as an Entrepreneur, Financier and Athlete," a 2003 Weisel autobiography... At the time Hamilton joined Montgomery Bell, Weisel "had poured about $5 million of his own money into the team since its inception, with little to show for it." The next year, however, the Weisel-owned team procured sponsorship from the United States Postal Service. And in 1998, the team recruited Lance Armstrong.Finally, one last bit of interesting news reported by VeloNation is that Italian police raided the Team RadioShack hotel this week. The article is unable to ascertain what the raid was about or whether it was related to the Novitzky investigation. The article speculates that it could be related to the Popovych raid that happened last November. Even if it wasn't, I'm pretty sure that Novitzky is hard at work collecting every bit of evidence between the US and Europe that he can find. He is known to be a tough adversary and he may prove to be Lance's toughest competitor ever...