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Landis coach convicted of receiving hacked documents
Floyd Landis and his former coach Arnie Baker were convicted today in a bizarre hacking scandal involving an international conspiracy, each receiving a one-year suspended sentence for their role.
Baker called the proceedings "deeply flawed", countering assertions of AFLD laywers that the pair had "made fun of the world by not coming to trial" by stating that he had been summoned to appear in court at his own expense and then threatened with arrest if he set foot on French soil.
"This case against me appears to be a deeply flawed process from start to finish, designed to protect a national French institution and cover up its apparent sloppy work and incompetence," Baker said in a press release.
The case dates back to 2006, when Baker launched his "Wiki-defense", which aimed to prove that the test results showing exogenous testosterone in Landis's 2006 Tour de France samples were flawed. The pair used documents from the French anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) which performed the tests in the defense, pointing out flaws in the documentation and analysis in an attempt to discredit the results. They lost the case and Landis was ultimately stripped of his title, but that wasn't the end of the case.
French authorities claimed Landis and Baker had hired hackers to dig into the LNDD's computers to obtain the files used in his defense, but Landis said the documents had been sent to him anonymously, .
According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors were unable to establish a definite link between Lands, Baker and a French national living in Morocco named Alain Quiros, who confessed to hacking into AFLD computers at the behest of former French intelligence agent Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus Consultants.
Baker clarified that he had been found not guilty of hacking the LNDD computers, but was convicted of "having knowingly received hacked documents ... from the French National Anti-Doping Laboratory that tested Floyd Landis in the 2006 Tour de France".
He said the suspended sentence, "reflects the weakness of their opinion on even this lesser charge", and said that the chargers were not true.
"I had nothing to do with any hacking and as far as I knew, the lab documents I received while serving as an expert consultant to the legal team for Floyd Landis were obtained legally.
"The case was initiated by the lab, which complained that I had published secret documents that reflected poorly on its work."
The Châtenay-Malabry lab caught wind of the hacking in November, 2006, when internal documents were sent out to the UCI, IOC, WADA, disguised as having appeared to originate from the lab, but using a poorly re-created LNDD logo and improper French grammar. Authorities suspected someone in the Landis camp had been involved in sending the messages.
Baker added that the prosecution of the case failed to follow normal protocols and "used legal theories contrary to principles of U.S. justice and law".
"They tried me in absentia in an inquisitorial system where there is a presumption of guilt, rather than of innocence. No evidence of wrongdoing was presented; they relied on false assumptions, including my absence from the court," Baker said.