Armstrong claims USADA’s action is unconstitutional and files for restraining order
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Armstrong claims USADA’s action is unconstitutional and files for restraining order

by Shane Stokes at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Texan applies to federal court in his home state to block agency’s action

Lance ArmstrongWith time running out before he has to respond to the US Anti Doping Agency’s charges against him and five others of doping and related offences, Lance Armstrong and his lawyers have applied to a federal court for a restraining order against USADA.

Multiple media sources have stated that the Texan’s legal team has filed a 80 page complaint to the US District Court in the Western District of Texas, claiming that the investigation is unconstitutional and that it is the result of an eight year vendetta against him.

The lawyers have applied to stop USADA from enforcing a deadline of next Saturday. The original deadline was 5pm Eastern time today, but Armstrong’s legal team applied for and received a five day extension.

Armstrong had been told by USADA that he could either accept the proposed penalty of a lifetime ban and the loss of his seven Tour titles, or that he could contest those charges via an arbitration hearing.

His lawyers are claiming that the adjudication process is one which is “rigged to ensure that it cannot lose.”

On June 12th Armstrong, former US Postal Service general manager Johan Bruyneel, doctors Michele Ferrari, Pedro Celaya (who currently works with Team RadioShack Nissan), Luis Garcia del Moral and the Spanish trainer Pepe Marti were all sent letters by USADA proposing a range of serious doping charges.

On June 22nd USADA said that it was following accepted process in relation to the case. “When we have evidence that a person has doped, we follow established procedures that were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and all Olympic sports organizations,” it stated then. “Every person accused has the right to a full public hearing where all of the evidence will be presented to an independent group of arbitrators who ultimately decide the case. The established rules provide full due process and are designed to get to the truth.”

USADA’s review board then confirmed on June 29th that it was proceeding with full charges, saying that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that doping had taken place. It also said that it was concerned that there was a real possibility that witnesses could be intimidated and, as a result, that it was releasing limited details of those witnesses at this point in time.

At least ten of Armstrong’s former team-mates are said to have given statements saying that the Texan and the others were involved in doping practices.

Today’s filing claims that the agency is violating Armstrong’s constitutional Fifth Amendment rights. It states that no person shall be “twice put in jeopardy of life or limb … be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

It also claims that USADA chief Travis Tygart was part of witness interviews carried out by federal agents and that he is illegally using the same testimony. USADA has previously stated that it is using evidence it has gathered itself.

It is not clear how the double jeopardy rule would stand, as the Federal charges Armstrong and the others were facing were separate to USADA’s own charges. Doping is not a federal offence in the USA, while it is banned by USADA and punishable by it.

Other claims made by Armstrong’s legal teams are that USADA does not have jurisdiction to investigate and to penalise Armstrong, and that the language used in the annual licences riders fill out deem that the UCI is the body which should carry out investigations.

The UCI has however been alleged as being close to Armstrong, with its former president Hein Verbruggen having described Armstrong as ‘a friend’ on at least one occasion, and the UCI being alleged to have covered up an alleged positive test for EPO in the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

The complaint is also based on allegations made by Floyd Landis and claimed deals made with Armstrong’s former team-mates that they would receive minimal punishment if they collaborated what Landis said. Armstrong’s lawyers say that two of the six named have been offered immunity against being banned if they testify against Armstrong.

The court application also claims that because of previous disputes between Armstrong and former WADA chief Dick Pound, that both WADA and USADA were determined to snag Armstrong. It adds that they and others subjected him to anti-doping tests than were “far in excess of the testing of any other professional, amateur or Olympic athlete in history.”

If the motion is denied, the case will proceed to arbitration and a hearing will be held by November.

In January 2011 Armstrong responded to allegations of doping use in Sports Illustrated by saying that he welcomed an inquiry by the US Anti Doping Agency. “Great to hear that @usada is investigating some of @si's claims. I look forward to being vindicated."

A year and a half later, he appears to be employing all legal means at his disposal to prevent USADA continuing with that investigation.

Also see: USADA says it is following established rules, confident Armstrong case will continue



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