Armstrong attorneys said to have suggested joint defence with Hamilton

Tyler Hamilton was popular with fans at this year's Tour of California

Tyler Hamilton was popular with fans at this year's Tour of California (Image credit: Emory Ball)

Lance Armstrong's attorneys suggested that their client and Tyler Hamilton put up a joint defence in the federal investigation led by Jeff Novitzky, Hamilton's attorney said. He declined the offer, and said that recently Armstrong's advisers have done all they can “to drag Tyler through the mud.”

Interviewed by the Am Law Daily, Chris Manderson said that the offer from Armstrong's camp came early on in the inquiry. “I have heard from Lance's lawyers from the very beginning. Before Tyler testified to the grand jury, Lance's lawyers...wanted to enter into a joint defence agreement. I told them, 'I don't think my guy is a defendant.'”

Since Hamilton's appearance last weekend on “60 Minutes,” he has been under attack from Armstrong's defenders as a liar. Manderson called that “very consistent with team Lance's MO. They have done everything they can to drag Tyler through the mud for the past three days. But he's telling the truth now, and there is nothing they can do to shut him up.”

Manderson encouraged Hamilton to do the “60 Minutes” interview. “We concluded that talking with [them] would give Tyler an opportunity to get out in front of this and tell his story. Tyler would get an opportunity to talk about the Faustian bargain he had to make to become an elite cyclist."

He did have concerns about it, though. “I was worried both that the feds would be pissed and that 'Team Armstrong' would retaliate. The '60 Minutes' producers made it clear that this wasn't going to be Tyler ratting out Lance, but about the problems with doping in the cycling world. The piece is about corruption in the sport writ large. I was able to get comfortable that the feds would not object to this and would not punish Tyler.”

After Hamilton's positive test for DHEA, which was followed by an eight-year ban, he “didn't want to talk to anyone. He wanted to ride off into the sunset and put all of this behind him. The feds didn't given him that choice.”

After Landis publicly confessed to doping and accused other riders of the same, Tyler called me and said that Jeff Novitzky, the federal official investigating the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports, [contacted] him. I negotiated his appearance before the federal grand jury, which occurred in July 2010.”

Manderson met Hamilton through Michael Ball's Rock Racing team. He was corporate attorney for the parent firm Rock & Republic, and Ball asked him to help Hamilton when the rider tested positive in March 2009.

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