Retired doctor who threatened Tygart and faces five year prison sentence pleads not guilty
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Retired doctor who threatened Tygart and faces five year prison sentence pleads not guilty

by Shane Stokes at 9:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Verdict yet to be handed down, second individual who made threats will be heard in October

Travis TygartOne of the two men charged with threatening the life of USADA CEO Travis Tygart in connection with the Lance Armstrong investigation, Gerrit Keats, has pleated not guilty to the charge in a federal court in Denver.

Florida resident Keats and the second defendant, Robert Hutchins of Utah, separately made the threats to Tygart last year.

Keats, a 72 year old retired urologist, is understood to have sent the threat on October 24th last year, two weeks after the publication of USADA’s reasoned decision.

He reportedly sent the message via email. He was arrested by FBI agents in Florida in July and appeared in a Tampa federal court before being released on bail. At his latest hearing in Denver, he pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Keats faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a probation term of up to three years.

The second individual charged, Hutchins, reportedly sent his threatening communication on the same day that Armstrong announced he would not fight the charges laid out against him by USADA, August 23rd 2012. His trial will be heard on October 7th.

USADA’s board chairman, Edwin Moses, said in July that when Tygart received the threats, he passed them on to federal agents to deal with.

“The information regarding the death threats directly received by USADA was referred to the appropriate federal law enforcement officials,” he stated then. “We are grateful to the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for handling this matter in accordance with the federal laws that are in place to protect the security and safety of citizens in this country.

“We respect the judicial process and will continue to focus on our mission to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport.”

USADA has called on Armstrong to give full details of his doping, as well as the help he received from others. Although he finally admitted long term doping on the Oprah Winfrey show in January, he insisted that he would not work with USADA, even though there is a possibility that his sanctions could be reduced.

Tygart told VeloNation this month that the situation remained the same. “There has been no change in the last few months. We are moving forward [with other matters],” he said. “Our hope is to have the action that the UCI promised, because we all need it. So if he is part of that, great, but we are not waiting around.”

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