Questions the use of Big Tobacco lawyers in Agency's case
A lawyer for Lance Armstrong has renewed his attack on USADA for their case against his client, criticising the impending "reasoned decision" that is set to be handed to the UCI and WADA this week. In a lengthy letter sent on October 9 to William Bock, III, the General Counsel for USADA, Timothy Herman suggests that the agency's use of lawyers who have represented Big Tobacco is further evidence that its case is about less than perceived doping infringements, but more about Armstrong, a noted anti-tobacco advocate.
Herman continues to employ the same arguments shot down by the Texas district court judge Sam Sparks, questioning jurisdiction, procedure and motives, asking why USADA has singled out Armstrong for treatment it claims is different to any other athlete. Herman claims that USADA is not required to provide a reasoned decision to the UCI, "it is required to produce the complete file of evidence, not more allegations by USADA about what it says it could prove in a one-sided arbitration hearing," he wrote.
USADA's media relations manager Annie Skinner commented, “The rules require us to provide a reasoned decision in every case and we are happy to let the evidence speak for itself.”
Herman pointed to a bill that two U.S Congressman have introduced called the "Athlete Due Process Protection Act". The act aims to curb the alleged misappropriation of the taxpayer funds that prop up the Agency.
The bipartisan bill was introduced on September 21 by Wisconsin Republican representative Jim Sensenbrenner and Michigan Democrat John Conyers. In July, Congressman Sensenbrenner sent an open letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) querying the $9 million dollars of taxpayer funding given to USADA.
The move was then followed by United States Senator John McCain backing the USADA investigation into Armstrong and his associates, saying that the Agency's rules and processes applied to all U.S. athletes "regardless of their public profile or success in sport."
The letter also strongly criticises USADA's choice of key witnesses, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
"For example, USADA will no doubt accept the stories told by Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton as gospel, though they are both serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath," Herman writes. "It is beyond reckless that USADA makes Landis a lynchpin of its case - he is a confessed perjurer, has admitted criminal fraud, has been convicted of criminal hacking, and has recently been sued successfully by the UCI for defamation.
"A Swiss Court has entered a judgment prohibiting Landis from repeating his false claims that UCI leaders corruptly protected Mr. Armstrong from a doping case - the very claims that USADA no doubt will publish again in direct and knowing contempt of the lawful Swiss Court order."
Attorneys for Landis stated that he was never informed of the proceedings and was unable to defend himself against the UCI's defamation charges.
The letter also goes so far as to suggest that USADA has manufactured evidence against Armstrong. It points to an impending "farce" with the release of the USADA report "written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco's favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America's leading anti-tobacco advocates. While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig."
In conclusion, Herman points to a 'call to arms' with the release of the USADA report, warning that public support is with Armstrong.
"As USADA ramps up its press leaks and press releases this week and then trots out what it has pressured and coerced from others, we know that fair minded people will see whatever USADA issues is far from a "reasoned decision" and is instead further evidence of the vendetta by USADA and its talebearers seeking publicity by targeting Mr. Armstrong, his business relations and the Lance Armstrong Foundation."