This Lance thing is Screwy

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The Department of Justice dropping the “Lance Investigation” out of the blue seems kind of screwy. So screwy that the Wall Street Journal and NPR did stories on the subject.

The subject of these stories was how surprised that the FBI, the FDA and the Postal Service were that the case was being closed and the notification period, which was supposedly 30 minutes, was nearly non existent.

I have a hard time believing that U.S. investigator Jeff Novitzky and prosecutor Doug Miller are that thrilled that their last year of work on the case disappears in a matter of minutes. It seems strange to me that there would be no indictment of anybody, considering that when those two guys went over to Europe last year, they got Italy and Switzerland involved too. And that they seized $13.64 million dollars from Swiss accounts that were supposedly for money laundering, fraud and doping. I wonder what is going to happen to all that money now? Supposedly $3.27 million of that is Denis Menchov’s. Maybe he can get it back now?

So now, the indictment against Lance seems small compared to the manipulation of our legal system. I am by far not an expert on legal processes, but this process, once again seems really flawed. The perception of manipulation is really bad, whether it happened or not. I would hope that the Department of Justice realizes that very fact and releases some more information about the whole affair. It makes our legal system seem corrupt. That may not be the case, but to a layman, it looks pretty bad.

I doubt any of this stuff would have went down if they had brought Perry Mason in on the case.

15 thoughts on “This Lance thing is Screwy

  1. Doug P

    He may be the biggest doper/cheat ever, but, by gosh he’s our American hero. So, since that foreign guy has been sacrificed on the altar of antidoping, we can sweep those syringes under the rug and go make more money. And meanwhile, pay no attention to those absolutely useless autologuous blood doping tests.

     
  2. Rad Renner

    Something tells me that this investigation will re-surface somehow. There are too many high-level agencies that were kept out of the decision to close the Armstrong case, and they do not seem happy about it at all. That no clarification or reasoning behind this very unexpected decision was offered by the US Attorney’s office also seems very uncharacteristic of DOJ. Strange days.

     
  3. JoeP

    The biggest questions are not whether or not Lance was using drugs. Of course he was along with every other racer, baseball player, runner, and almost every professional athlete. The question is why is the US Government supporting a team with Tax Payers Money? Why is the Government wasting money investigating sporting activities? Don’t they have national security issues, budget issues, energy issues, and a shit ton of other things to do? The whole thing is ridiculous!

     
  4. Matt Struckman

    They sponsored postal in an effort to boost their international shipping to compete with UPS/FedEx if I recall correctly.

    In any case, he’s more than likely guilty, the majority were back then. Quit throwing good money after bad with the cost of the investigation. The sponsorship dollars are long gone, spend it on something useful, like refinancing the failing banks or GM/Chrysler (sarcasm).

     
  5. channel_zero

    JoeP

    “Can’t afford to prosecute drug runners”
    “Can’t afford to prosecute fraud”
    “Can’t afford to uphold the Rule of Law”

    At what point does the “can’t afford it” excuse end?

    And isn’t it amazing how ‘we’ can afford to fund your favorite government project and not this one?

    The USPS is supposed to operate like a business. Deliveries to/from Europe is/was a good business and sponsoring a cycling team was/is a relative bargain to get the message out that USPS is in business in Europe.

    Now, before you or anyone else blasts away at the USPS in 2012, the congress critters won’t allow it to operate like a business by allowing it to close branches, limit service such that it could be self-funded again. NIMBY in action.

     
  6. Steve Wathke

    Steve,
    Can you tell us any stories about things you may have witnessed? Doping? Were you ever asked to do it? This is the kind of stuff I want to read. Firsthand accounts….but then we may never hear from you again. 🙂

     
  7. Bill Stone

    US Attorneys rarely disclose information about grand jury proceedings and do not put out explanations. They do so when a grand jury indicts and clearly this grand jury did not indict anyone.
    That people with an interest in the matter would like to see people charged that is almost always the case when a prosecutor decides not to file charges.
    As in most such matters the simple answer is usually the correct one; and here is simply that they did not have evidence sufficient to bring an indictment and more importantly to win. It is after all the ethical responsibility of a US Attorney not to bring charges because he ‘can’ but to bring cases where there is evidence consistent with the obligation to prove matters at issue beyond all reasonable doubt.

     
  8. Mark

    This would the about perfect time for another ex-teammate to come forth and drop one of those Hamilton/Landis style 60 Minute bombshells. Throw some gas on the fire before it dies out.

     
  9. Roberto

    Leave Lance the hell alone. and they didn’t sacrifice Contador, they followed the precedent they had already set, and had thus far ignored in his case. Remember Petacchi, they cleared him of cheating, but banned him anyway, simply because it was in his system. Whether you believe the tainted beef BS or not, it was there, he should get banned, just like everyone else.

     
  10. Defense Counsel

    Perry Mason wasn’t a prosecutor. Hamilton Burger was the prosecutor in the TV series, and he almost always lost the case (except for two times according to Wikipedia). So maybe the US Attorney for the Central District of California (Andre Birotte) didn’t want to play Hamilton Berger in the Lance matter. And, why would he?

     
  11. JoeP

    Channel _Zero
    Not once did I say “Cant afford”. I said, “Why?”.
    I know that I will not change your mind, and I hate to hijack this forum, but I feel compelled to respond;
    Taking it point by point.
    We can not afford to prosecute drug runners. The war on drugs is not effective and will never be effected until the demand is gone. See prohibition.
    What is the rule of law? Laws are over looked and not upheld all the time. How about stop making so many laws. Why is it illegal to use steroids? A chemical produced by the body, yet it is illegal to use unless of course you can get a prescription for it and drug companies can get paid so they can pay the lobbiest who then pay off the law makers. Sounds like fraud. How about some personal choice.
    I do not have a favorite government project. I can spend my money more efficiently than the government all day.
    Government entities that are supposed to act like businesses always fail to make money. That is what happens when you are not held accountable to stock holders and you are backed by the tax payers. What is more concerning is that a business has to compete against a government funded “company”. Not exactly fair to the market. What then happens if they lower prices beyond what the market can bear to reduce competition and then you have limited choices?

     
  12. channel_zero

    JoeP

    Don’t backtrack on my now!

    Buried in your senseless screed is the phrase “Why is the Government wasting money investigating sporting activities?” That and what followed implies that they cannot afford to spend resources (money, time IS money after all) on the investigation. Are you going to give me some stupid-complicated Clintonian ‘I did not have sex’ excuse now?

    Judging by the rest of your screed you’ve bought into an ideology that only makes you and I poorer. The distribution of wealth in the U.S. over the last 10+ years should be ample evidence of that.

     
  13. JoeP

    Who distributes wealth? The Government. Get them out of our business.
    We are probably in the same book, just different pages.

     
  14. JD

    The Lance Situation is not just about whether or not he doped, but that is how the government and media (which are the same thing, really) spins it. This exemplifies politics and our culture of public relations. Disgusting.

    The alleged doping is not as important as the other things that are going on. The government being involved in things it shouldn’t be, wasting its resources and our money and making decisions based on politics in an election year.

    First of all, Lance is our national hero. Right out of central casting. He’s a great rider! A cancer survivor! He has a Foundation! While the Tour riders aren’t representing “countries,” his team essentially is. It’s sponsored by the US Postal Service; not by McDonalds or GM or WalMart. The United States Postal Service. That’s Uncle Sam in bike helmet. And another example of the government being involved in an area it has no business being involved in.

    So, the government has endorsed Lance as our national hero.

    But, word gets out that our hero may not be so pure after all. What an embarrassment!!! A PR nightmare, not just for him, but the government sees it as embarrassing for the US. Never mind that even if he did “dope,” it was LEGAL for him to do what he did, as far as I understand it.

    If what he did was legal, the government still has to act like it’s despicable somehow. And somebody at the DOJ wants to be a hero, too, and get his own 15 minutes of fame. So, they allege fraud charges against Lance: that there was a no doping provision in his contract with the USPS. I still don’t understand why the DOJ is involved in a simple contract violation. It doesn’t seem to rise to the level of criminal conduct to me.

    Meanwhile, the DOJ illegally leaked materials of the grand jury investigation to the media last summer (yet another example of how the government controls the media). Manipulation. Leaking confidential grand jury material is a felony, but somehow it’s okay if the government does it.

    Uh oh……now it’s an election year! Lance is still our national hero. And Lance has endorsed Democrats in the past. Coincidentally (or, more likely, not), Lance gave $100k to Planned Parenthood in the middle of the buzz about Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to stop donations to Planned Parenthood. So, Lance is even more of a hero to the pro-choice movement. And he’s still the hero of the cancer constituency, because, really, his story is inspirational.

    The DOJ announced the decision to drop the charges last Friday. The Friday before the SuperBowl. That is a great way to bury a sports story, especially one that makes the government look bad!!!

    So, Lance is still our hero and maybe now has an even stronger fan base (and constituency!) as he reinvents himself as a triathlete and the government gets to save face. The most disturbing part of the Lance Situation is not whether or not an athlete “doped”; the most disturbing part is how the government has manipulated the law and spun the facts to cast itself in the best possible light.

     

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