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Evidence quality clouds 'stage three' arguments

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Floyd Landis on day three

Floyd Landis on day three (Image credit: Mark Zalewski)
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USADA attorney Richard Young

USADA attorney Richard Young (Image credit: Mark Zalewski)

By Mark Zalewski in Malibu, California

Day three of Floyd Landis' arbitration hearing began with the continuation of testimony from one of the two LNDD analytical chemists that performed the original as well as the retesting of the Landis samples from stage 17 of last year's Tour. Cynthia Mongongu's direct examination by the USADA attorney concluded Tuesday's proceedings and the Landis side had all night to prepare for the cross-examination, likely in an effort to show errors in the processing of the samples and to discredit Ms. Mongongu's work as a technician. Floyd Landis was again sporting a yellow tie, and was noticeably more jovial at times, particularly in the more frustrating moments of the testimony.

Drama of the day

There seems to be a daily occurrence of drama that brings the hearing to a screeching halt. Yesterday it was the translator, today it was a problem with evidence - or in legal-ease, the "discovery process" (no pun intended). During the afternoon testimony of Ms. Mongongu, the hearing was stopped when Landis' lawyer Maurice Suh objected in response to the witness saying she needed a certain document in order to answer a question of analysis.

"The documents to determine if there is matrix interference here, we never received," said Mr. Suh. "And we asked for them. So because we did not get those documents, we are going to stop the cross right now, with the right to recall this witness."

The USADA lawyers said that the discovery process was long and lengthy, but that the Landis side has finally acknowledged they had everything they needed.

"We have never, ever said we have everything we needed to have," Mr. Suh quickly replied. "We are told [by the witness] that you cannot properly identify this because there is matrix interference."

After a recess, USADA lawyer Richard Young responded to Mr. Suh's claims. "That is absolutely not true," said Mr. Young. "They got the electronic data file. If they wanted to give [AFLD Secretary General] Dr. Dautry clear instructions, they should do that. Then when Dr. Dautry and themselves were all in Paris together, he was accepting instructions from them there. It isn't that they didn't get the documents from the file. They are now saying, I guess we got the documents, they are just not enlarged the way they want. The could have asked Dr. Dautry to have it printed in that format, and if they had I guess they would be happy now. If they had asked, they would have in their hands everything they are making a fuss about."

"I absolutely need to respond to that," Mr. Suh quickly retorted. "It would have taken weeks to go in and get the resolution. We got this data on April 5, and we simply did not have the time. We asked for [the files] on February 22, and were told we could not have it because USADA said we would go in and tamper with them."

After yet another lengthy recess, neither side seemed satisfied with the deliberations. However, Mr. Suh rested in his cross-examination with the right to recall later.

To read Cyclingnews' full coverage from day three, click here.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case