Jurisdiction in doubt
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Italian prosecutor Nicola Insiti in Latina, Italy has forwarded the defamation case against Lance Armstrong by Filippo Simeoni to the regional court in Latina for a preliminary hearing on March 7, 2006. Although it is not clear if the Italian court actually even has any jurisdiction in the case, where allegedly defamatory comments were made by Armstrong in a July 2003 interview in French newspaper Le Monde calling Simeoni a liar, Italian legal authorities in Latina, where Simeoni resides, have decided to hear Simeoni's case.
After Armstrong chased down Simeoni at the 2004 Tour, Simeoni called back to Italy and complained to his local carabineri about Armstrong's supposedly intimidating actions and his alleged defamatory remarks. 16 months later, a preliminary hearing date will be held on March 7 before Judge Maria Teresa Cialoni. Armstrong faces a maximum penalty of six years in jail, but with the actual jurisdiction of the case in doubt, there is also a real chance that Simeoni's entire case will be thrown out of court.