Friday, July 20, 2012

Lance Armstrong Investigation: USADA Strikes Back in Court

Photo from AU
Late Thursday night, news outlets are reporting that USADA has filed a 19-page motion asking U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong about ten days ago.

Here are some details of the news reports as taken from Thursday's Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Armstrong's lawyers, in their lawsuit filed July 10, argue that USADA has no jurisdiction over him and that the proper organization to bring the case is the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, or UCI, which is based in Switzerland. The UCI has taken no action against Mr. Armstrong.
This is great since other reports suggest that there is evidence from several sources that the UCI was bribed by Lance years ago to make a doping finding go away when he was racing in the Tour of Switzerland. I'm sure Lance would love to have the UCI be in charge or maybe his girlfriend could be the one to decide what to do with the evidence that he's doped...

The story continued:

...(I)n court documents filed Thursday, USADA's attorneys included previously undisclosed emails they say show Mr. Armstrong's attorneys argued the exact opposite in another lawsuit over his Tour de France bonuses about seven years ago. 
In a draft of a letter sent on April 28, 2005, and included in Thursday's court filing, a lawyer for Mr. Armstrong wrote that the U.S. Olympic Committee "has given USADA full authority to execute a comprehensive national anti-doping program encompassing testing, adjudication, education, and research, and to develop programs, policies, and procedures in each of those areas," he said. 
At the time, Mr. Armstrong's attorneys were fighting an insurance company that had balked at paying millions of dollars in bonuses to Mr. Armstrong because it said he had cheated by doping. 
Mr. Armstrong sued the insurance company; attorneys for Mr. Armstrong argued he had never doped and that USADA was the proper forum for the matter, according to an attorney representing the insurance company at the time. They asked Travis Tygart, then general counsel of USADA, to sign an affidavit that certified Mr. Armstrong had never failed a drug test. Mr. Tygart signed a version of that letter.
The letter that Mr. Armstrong's attorneys drafted for Mr. Tygart to sign went into detail about USADA's process, including its arbitration system, which Mr. Armstrong's attorneys now refer to as a "kangaroo court."
"Thus, Armstrong clearly understood he was subject to the USADA Protocol, including its results management and adjudication rules," USADA said in its motion Thursday.
Conveniently, when he needed USADA in 2005 to fight doping allegations he vowed to the validity of the organization. Now that they are threatening to take away his titles, his constitutional rights are somehow being violated! 

My hunch is that the judge will eventually rule that USADA has jurisdiction, that Lance agreed to abide by USADA's rules and procedures when he bought his license to race, that he has shown he agreed to be subject to their procedures when he let them test him for doping, etc.

Unfortunately, before we get to that point, a lot of drama will take place and Lance is sure to keep trying to find someone on Capitol Hill who can put an end to his misery. I'd like to see his pledges for campaign contributions...

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