Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: New Charges May Be in the Works

(photo taken from ESPN website)
The incident that I blogged about yesterday regarding a hostile confrontation between Lance Armstrong and his former friend and chief lieutenant, Tyler Hamilton, may be more serious than Lance had imagined. Tyler's attorneys have reported the incident to federal authorities since it potentially involves witness tampering. A few more details are coming out today. For example...
...ESPN is reporting that Tyler's attorney, Chris Manderson, is saying the following about the confrontation:
Hamilton attorney Chris Manderson...said Hamilton told him (that) Armstrong repeatedly asked how much he had been paid to do the television interview, and added that his legal team would "(expletive) destroy you," "tear you apart on the witness stand," and "make your life a living (expletive) hell."
As for the owner of the restaurant, she is claiming the confrontation was completely docile. Of course, she did ask Hamilton to never come back again. Why you ask? I guess she doesn't like docile customers. She prefers those who intimidate her clientele.

Actually, her side of the story, as reported by ESPN, is a bit better than that:
Larner (co-owner of Cache Cache) said she spoke to Hamilton on his way out and asked him never to come back because people at his table had been rude to her staff and failed to tip. (Hamilton told Manderson there was a "misunderstanding" about the bill that was resolved before he and his friends left.)
Well, I don't know about you but this story sounds a bit fishy to me. Maybe Aspen is different than most places but in the restaurants I've been to, it would take a lot of rudeness on repeated occasions and someone who refused to tip after being told about the issue to get the owner to ask the customer to never come back.

Since it could happen, I guess we'll have to see what others at the Cache Cache say about this. According to some, the possibility that witnesses of the confrontation and even some of the Cache Cache employees are likely to be talking to Novitzky about it. Here is one analysis reported on ESPN:
California-based former federal prosecutor Richard J. Cutler has no first-hand knowledge of the incident but said that the episode, if accurately recounted by Hamilton, could fall within the definition of witness tampering.
Although no criminal charges have been filed against Armstrong, Cutler said the ongoing investigation could be enough to underlie a charge of witness tampering. Hamilton could be called back before the grand jury to provide more information, and/or summoned to testify at trial if a case were to go that far.
"If I were the prosecutor, my investigator would be going to talk to Hamilton," said Cutler, now with the firm of Dechert LLP. "This, to me, is a game-changer." A charge of witness tampering could also affect any statute of limitations issues prosecutors might be facing by extending the timeline forward to the present day, Cutler added.
Similarly, The Business Insider is saying this confrontation may have been a fatal mistake for Lance. Here is their take on it:
Armstrong may have just opened himself up to a very serious charge – one completely unrelated any drug or fraud charges. In fact, this may have been Armstrong biggest mistake of all. Even if prosecutors find themselves unable to indict him on a drug charge, they could still nail Armstrong for obstruction of justice. Just like they did with Barry Bonds...At the very least, Armstrong may have forced prosecutors to bring him in for questioning, or worse, force him to testify before the grand jury, a circumstance he's thus far avoided. It could also eliminate any statute of limitations issues by bringing the entire case into the present day.
I found yesterday's comments on Fraudbytes interesting too. The readers were on top of the witness tampering issue before the news outlets were. In sum, the comments said that postings on CyclingNews suggest that Lance may have flown to Aspen when he discovered Tyler would be at the Cache Cache and that the FBI is probably already in Aspen interviewing witnesses.

Since I'm not a legal expert, I can't say if this will be the fatal mistake for Lance. However, it appears that a lot of people who have the background to know believe that he may be done intimidating those around him in order to get his way.

Time will tell...


  1. Not to mention the possibility that the statute of limitations clock starts ticking all over again. Man, those investigators must really love cancer and now they have more time to do it.

  2. Oh do get real! Can't you "Lance sheep' ever separate cancer from the actual charges he's facing? Nobody loves cancer and until your idol started his 'if you're against me you love cancer' campaign, nobody so much as thought such a stupid thing!

  3. Charlie, relax. It was tongue in cheek.