United States Attorney Birotte says there are currently no plans to bring criminal charges against Armstrong
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

United States Attorney Birotte says there are currently no plans to bring criminal charges against Armstrong

by Shane Stokes at 3:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Says he stands by his original decision to suspend federal investigation

Lance ArmstrongJust over one year after he unexpectedly called off the federal investigation into Lance Armstrong, United States Attorney André Birotte has ended his silence on the matter and said that, despite the rider’s admission of lying about doping, that there are no plans to bring criminal charges against him.

“We made a decision on that case a little over a year ago,” he said at an-otherwise unrelated news conference in Washington, according to Reuters. “Obviously, we've been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong in other media reports. That does not change my view at this time.”

Birotte’s decision to shelve the case on February 3rd 2012 took many by surprise, including the federal investigators such as Jeff Novitzky who had worked for a long time to build a case. Although doping is not in itself a criminal offence in the US, those investigators were seeking to show that he had committed fraud, as well as potentially breaking laws relating to obstruction of justice and perjury.

Novitzky was reportedly furious when he learned that Birotte had closed down the investigation, believing that there were sufficient grounds for the investigation to continue. The US Anti Doping Agency took up its own case after that and eventually imposed a lifetime ban on Armstrong, as well as stripping him of all of his results after August 1st, 1998.

The Texan continued his denials until last month’s Oprah Winfrey interview, where Armstrong admitted for the first time that he had indeed used doping products and that he had lied.

That admission left him open to perjury charges, but regardless of that Birotte said that the confession "hasn't changed our view as I stand here today."

Armstrong has until tomorrow to speak to USADA, which imposed a February 6th deadline if he is seeking a reduction in his sentence. To achieve that, he would have to give substantial evidence to the agency, including details about others who facilitated his doping.

He recently indicated that he would consider speaking to WADA or the UCI, but not to USADA.

Meanwhile a Qui Tam whistleblower suit continues to progress towards a hearing. It was launched by Armstrong’s former US Postal Service team-mate Floyd Landis. The US Justice Department has the option of joining that case, but has not yet announced if it will do so or not.


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