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USADA may struggle to study all evidence in Lance Armstrong investigation

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
February 05, 2012, 16:52 GMT,
Updated:
February 05, 2012, 17:12 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, February 5, 2012
Super domestique Lance Armstrong prior to the start.

Super domestique Lance Armstrong prior to the start.

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United States Attorney's Office legally bound on what they can share

USADA may find themselves unable to study all of the documentation and evidence gathered by the FDA in the investigation surrounding Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The criminal investigation was closed on Friday when the United States Attorney's Office declared that no charges relating to Armstrong and other individuals would follow.

It brought an end to a two year investigation but the news was quickly followed by USADA issuing a statement in which they said that they "looked forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation."

However that information may not be readily available. Thom Mrozek, the Public Affairs Office at the United States Attorney's Office has told Cyclingnews that certain legalities relating to the types of evidence involved may be a factor.

"What we announced was that a criminal investigation had been closed and that no charges had been brought. So in terms of this criminal investigation that we were undertaking, it has been concluded," Mrozek told Cyclingnews.

"There may be other things, like the US Anti-Doping Agency put out a statement saying they were continuing to investigate something or another, but that would not be a criminal investigation. They can't put someone in prison or get a fine out of them like a criminal court could," he said. However, USADA could hand Armstrong a retroactive sporting ban and strip him of his racing results if it concludes an anti-doping rule violation occurred based upon the evidence obtained.

On whether the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles would provide all evidence gathered, Mrozek added: "No, not necessarily. This comes down to certain rules, and laws and policies at the United States Department of justice. And if they want to request information from us we'll take a look at the request and see what, if anything, we can do to help them out."

Mrozek would not comment as to why the announcement from Los Angeles was brief or why they had reached their conclusion. Likewise, he would not comment on the costs the investigation had burdened the US tax payer with.

"I couldn't even begin to," he said

"We don't track the hours that an investigator has spent on a particular matter and the way that we view it, if a prosecutor in the justice department is looking into something whether it be a drug trafficking ring or someone engaged or fraud, smuggling or whatever it may be, if you're looking at one thing it just means they're not doing something else. They draw a salary and are typically are involved in multiple matters at one time."

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