Drug Testing

Leak Complaints End Federal Witch Hunt Against Lance Armstrong

|

Where are your tireless IP lawyers on this one, Walt?

Months after Lance Armstrong's attorney sought an investigation of federal government leaks to the establishment media, U.S. attorneys have ended their investigation of the cycling champion

United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. capitulated in a press conference today, announcing that his office "is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong." 

Birotte failed to specify his reasons for closing down the investigation into claims of blood doping. Since July, Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani has been demanding an investigation to find whether prosecutors were actively leaking damaging details to reporters. 

Armstrong, who survived advanced testicular cancer at age 25 but went on to win the Tour de France seven times and date Sheryl Crow, was targeted not only by the federal government but by 60 Minutes. Anchorman Scott Pelley devoted nearly an hour of broadcast time and several "Overtimes"  to hawking an anti-Armstrong interview with cyclist Tyler Hamilton, an admitted serial doper whose Olympic gold medal has been revoked. (Armstrong during his career passed 24 unannounced tests for performance-enhancement violations.) 

"Blood doping" is a process of concentrating red blood cells so that your blood will somehow be more vigorous than that of other cyclists, who presumably must make do with whatever hemotherapeutic benefits can be derived from eating liver and oysters. Although doping once required an uncomfortable process of blood extraction and transfusion, advances since the 1980s have made it easier and more convenient. 

I have never met Lance Armstrong and have no particular feelings about him. Although I find his public persona more agreeable than those of the only other cyclists I can name – Floyd Landis and Greg LeMond – Armstrong was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, a legally protected monopoly that should not require any advertising. As far as I'm concerned, the only Tour de France winner who matters is Pee Wee Herman

But I do wonder why the squares went after him with such a vengeance. U.S. attorneys have broad discretion to pick their targets. So does 60 Minutes. What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist? 

NEXT: Sheldon Richman on Why the U.S. Is Not a Free Market

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. OT: When Obama is reelected, is there any hope that they’ll bring back that delightfully kitschy commemorative plates, coins, and t-shirts?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2ECtj-ViHM

    1. What about the commemorative dartboards and chamberpots?

    2. looking for the bilover?—datebi*cO’m— is a site for bisexual and bicurious singles and friends.Here you can find hundreds of thousands of open-minded singles & couples looking to explore their bisexuality.sign up for free.

  2. What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist?

    Why does a big-game hunter travel to Africa to shoot an elephant when such an endeavor serves no practical purpose?

    Because it’s a trophy.

    1. This, and because it makes a name for them. Why do you think a prosecutor went after Martha Stewart so hard? To get their name in the papers and raise their public profile.

      1. It goes even further than that. It’s high school jealousy, Revenge of the Nerds shit.

      2. All I can say is, if I ever get picked for federal jury duty, remind me to nullify.

      3. I’m convinced that when prosecutors go after cases like this *cough*Duke Lacrosse*cough* that they actually sit around and doodle lists on legal pads with names of actors who will play them in the movie.

        1. That would not surprise me at all.

        2. My roommate in college helped run Nifong’s reelection campaign, which occurred during the middle of the fallout from the lacrosse case.

          Also, in case anyone wants to know how dumb Durham is, they reelected him.

    2. Some pompous assholes deserve to be taken down. Armstrong is not one of them.

  3. Because it’s a trophy.

    Novitzky – the federal agent behind the Bonds, Clemens and Armstrong obsessions will one day be as ridiculed and reviled as Comstock.

    1. Sorry, a man with a mustache that good is a worthy opponent in my book.

  4. If I had an Olympic Gold Metal ™, they would never be able to get it back from me. Fuck the IOC.

  5. I love that… he beat cancer, won the Tour seven times, and dated Sheryl Crow. Ha!

    1. Two* out of three ain’t bad.

      *or eight out of nine, if you count the medals as seven items.

    2. I thought it should have read, “dated Sheryl Crow, beat cancer and then went on to win the Tour seven times.”

    3. Sheryl Crow walks into a bar, bartender asks her “Why the long face?”

  6. Cyclists like the smell of their own sweaty shit. The road purists who use those pussy skinny tires and wear the leotards get pissy when you don’t give a fuck about traffic rules and helmets. Mountain bikers bitch you about using the trail when its too muddy.

    1. Thanks for that.

    2. [sarcasm]

      Thanks for that.

      [/sarcasm]

    3. Tell me more, sir. I just bought a trek bike. How should I act when going through trails? Assholish, I assume?

      1. So you wouldn’t have to change at all, Naga. That’s convenient.

      2. Just use the trail if you feel like it, muddy or not. Don’t worry about what other people are doing if they aren’t hurting you. Be a guy on a bike, not a “serious biker”.

        1. Epi is correct, Mr. Angus*. Why should I have to lower myself and deign to hold you in something less than contempt? What makes you so special? Simply put, if I am inconvenienced, YOU are the asshole. Take note.

          *If Kentucky hasn’t given you that honorific I refuse to use it in anyones title.

          1. Don’t hate me because I’m having a good time when I go for a spin, while you make it like work with all your “proper technique” and shit. You’re kind of like people who complain about wine being drunk the wrong way.

            1. I make no promises. Bitching is universal, my friend. I’m actually a bartender btw. And yes. I judge people how they drink wine. Mainly if they drink a white with something hot. Its madness watching it happen.

              1. That’s some of the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard. Drinking white wine with hot food (either temperature hot or spicy hot) is perfectly acceptable. You, sir, are an idiot.

                I bartended for 7 years (at much nicer places than you) and worked closely with 2 Master Sommeliers.

      3. HI O WISE PRINCE. WHT TOOK U SO DAM LONG?

    1. Jumbo Shrimp

  7. You don’t want to end up like me, do you?

  8. Lance Armstrong is from Texas, and George W. Bush is from Texas. Ergo, Lance Armstrong = George W. Bush.

    1. used to live in plano, didn’t he?

      1. My high school Spanish teacher once had him paddled for repeated coughing curse words during class.

        Lance Armstrong, that is, not GWB.

    2. Ah, the transitive property.

  9. Since July, Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani has been demanding an investigation to find whether prosecutors were actively leaking damaging details to reporters.

    Investigated for cheating his sport and Armstrong has his lawyer complaining about leaks. The ball on this guy.

    1. The ball on this guy.

      Ducking under desk to laugh out loud.

      Out. Loud.

      1. Lance solidified his place in my heart forever when it was revealed that he used to check into hotels as ‘Juan Pelota’

  10. But I do wonder why the squares went after him with such a vengeance. U.S. attorneys have broad discretion to pick their targets. So does 60 Minutes. What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist?

    I think a more fundamental question is why they are even involved in the first place? This type of activity should not even be within the scope of their targets. I mean who cares if he really did dope? The same with baseball and steroids. All of this is a purely a civil and contractual matter. Why does everything have to become a criminal matter?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. Who gives a shit if these guys are doping? What crime has been committed? Fraud? I was looking around on the internet, and can’t find much, but maybe the Union Cycliste Internationale has agreements with national governments to pursue cases such as these. Maybe prosecuted as fraud, or perjury, or … ???

      1. Prosecutors can score big points for themselves going after celebrities.

        I don’t think it mattered what they got him for, as long as he’s famous and they got his scalp on their wall.

        That’s how Martha Stewart ended up in jail, certainly. If you’re a prosecutor, you want to be the guy that put a celebrity like Martha Stewart in jail. Anybody rich you can put in jail is a feather in your cap.

        Prosecutors are like cops, only more so.

        1. Tell me about it.

          1. The reason for the federal investigation: Armstrong’s team was sponsored by the USPS. If he bought illegal drugs to enhance his racing, it could be argued he used Federal money to do so, thus a federal crime.

            Just cause I understand it, doesn’t mean I agree with it.

            1. Btw, Mr. Tim. Are you sure he was being investigated for “blood doping”? I thought it was for steroid, HGH, etc.

    2. Why does everything have to become a criminal matter?

      All together now…

      FOR THE CHILDREN!!!

      Thank you.

  11. “What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist”

    This is too easy. Lance Armstrong is one of the things these elitist pricks have been apologizing to their European friends about. Their persecution of him is just one more example of why their the good Americans.

    1. Oh wait, I forgot where I was. You guys also think hating yourselves makes you sophisticated.

      1. Cool story, bro.

        1. I like how you selflessly propagate internet memes, Episiarch. You don’t have to do it. But your efforts are not going unnoticed. Peace, bro.

  12. “Armstrong, who survived advanced testicular cancer at age 25 but went on to win the Tour de France seven times and date Sheryl Crow…”

    Surely, dating Cheryl Crow is his crowning achievement.

  13. What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist?

    Athletes in the cycling world are notorious for this kind of cheating.

    Testicular cancer is rare and can be caused by steroids.

    Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times!

    Our government invaded Iraq based on less circumstantial evidence. Why wouldn’t they go after Lance Armstrong?

    It surprised the hell out of me that Saddam Hussein didn’t have any WMD to speak of, and if Lance Armstrong wasn’t guilty, that surprises the hell out of me, too.

    Sometimes the truth is surprising.

    1. Lame. There is no obligation for internet providers to supply bandwidth for or give priority to excessive use, unless the user has specifically contracted for it not to be deliberately restricted.

    2. thing is they are a regulated monopoly. If they actually allowed competition and completely opened up the markets (going beyond franchising and subdividing areas in the US) an ISP, one of many, deciding to throttle would be a non-issue. In fact, most restrictions would be short lived due to competitive pressure.

  14. Ugh. Why do people care about Sheryl Crow?

    My father had a friend who was a fairly successful businessmen and lawyer. When he died, what was the most prominent thing in his obituary? That an old convertible he owned was bought by Sheryl Crow.

    He was steamed up by this for months.

    1. Why would the guy who died be steamed about that?

      1. I’m always late to the party.

      2. Its not why, but how that has me interested.

      3. Steamed Long Pork is particularly tasty, especially when served with a garlic/red pepper sauce. It’s done in a long, slow process, particularly for older harvested pork, but yeah, “months” seems excessive. A week perhaps to get the texture and flavor au point.

  15. Governmental investigation of athletes for drugs is a waste of time, but Lance Armstrong is a fraud and a self-important asshole.

    1. What is the fraud? Please provide evidence/proof.

  16. He’s popular, and an activist, and he ran afoul of the war on drugs. They wanted to do Bonds like Zed on Marcellus Wallace, too.

    The government goes all out to sell this message.

  17. As much as I love Reason, I generally find myself cringing whenever the topic of sports comes up. Yes, spending crazy federal money on a doping investigation is ridiculous. But once you admit that you don’t know much about Armstrong, you should leave it at that rather than half-assedly trying to deify him simply because he’s on the other side of the feds. I’m not a cyclist, but I have several friends who are the general consensus is he’s a prick of the first order. Further, like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, his LiveStrong “charity” is nothing but a gigantic PR machine serving to turn him into a martyr and enrich his corporate sponsors. The fact that you’ve been dicked over by the government doesn’t mean you’re not a dick yourself; Armstrong is exhibit A.

    1. The issue is not whether he’s a dick, it’s whether the gov’t should have any power to go after him for this kind of alleged activity. One’s popularity or public notoriety should have nothing to do with the free exercise of one’s rights. Clearly the gov’t frequently picks unsympathetic people to make examples. The unsavory personality of a defendant certainly does not excuse a bad law or opportunistic prosecution.

      1. If that’s the issue, fine (and I think I was pretty clear about the fact that I agree they shouldn’t go after him). But Cavanaugh chose to finish with, “What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist?” And if he’s going to ask the question, I’m going to point ut that he’s NOT a beloved athlete and he’s a piss-poor cancer activist.

        1. Really? That’s not what I have EVER heard about Lance Armstrong, whenever I see or hear stuff about him, it always seems to be praise. I guess I’m not talking to reading stuff by people with the “right” opinions.

    2. I really don’t care about Armstrong as an object of hero worship (be it justified or not). I do care that a fucktard with an obsession is still sucking down tax dollars on both his salary and his PED crusade. Novitzky is the dick than needs to get run through a meat grinder.

  18. U.S. attorneys … 60 Minutes. What possible upside did they see in tearing down a beloved athlete and cancer activist?

    The question answers itself.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.