Andreus interviewed in Floyd Landis Investigation, voicemails given to investigators
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Andreus interviewed in Floyd Landis Investigation, voicemails given to investigators

by VeloNation Press at 10:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Recordings allegedly incriminate Oakley rep who denied hearing Armstrong admission in 1996

Floyd Landis and Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong’s former team-mate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy Andreu, have both spoken to federal agents investigating possible doping and fraud on the US Postal Service team.

According to the Los Angeles times, Betsy Andreu provided voicemails kept on her answering machine which allegedly show that Oakley representative, Stephanie McIlvain, lied in the past about Armstrong’s history.

The Andreus have long claimed that they were present in a hospital room in 1996 when Armstrong reportedly admitting using performance enhancing drugs before contracting cancer. They claimed that when asked by doctors if he had used any banned products, he had answered “growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone.” They testified to this effect during the SCA hearing in 2004, when an insurance company tried to fight the granting of a bonus to Armstrong for winning six Tours.

It is thought that their most recent testimony to the FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky echoed those previous statements, which the Andreus made under oath during the that SCA hearing. Betsy Andreu told the LA Times that she has also turned over unspecified documents to Novitzky, who was previously heavily involved in investigating the BALCO case.

Information from the probe is being gathered for a federal Grand Jury convening in downtown Los Angeles.

Andreu told the Associated Press that she expects the federal inquiry to find that she has told the truth all along about the hospital incident. “Lance pays his PR firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote himself and to smear those who speak the truth about him,” she said.

“[However] I have something that they don’t have, and that’s the truth,” she said. “And I am overly confident that will come about. It will show all along I have said nothing but the truth.”

McIlvain was also present in the room in 1996, and she reportedly told the journalist James Startt in 2004 that she heard the same admission. Startt testified to this under oath at the SCA hearing.

VeloNation has heard a telephone recording made by Greg LeMond several years ago where a woman who appears to be McIlvain speaks to the triple Tour winner about the admission, saying that she was there, she heard Armstrong admit using the substances alleged by the Andreus, and that she would tell the truth about the incident.

McIlvain subsequently gave evidence under oath in contradiction of that, saying that she never heard any admission to the doctors. The recording in question was not admissible as evidence in that trial, but is available online. The voicemails reportedly left for Andreu are not.

Implications could be wide-reaching

If these latest recordings mentioned by the LA Times are indeed what it is claimed they are, it would put McIlvain in a very difficult position. Novitzky will make it clear that lying under oath is an offence; if she decides to co-operate with the inquiry and back the Andreu’s version of events, it would be a significant blow for Armstrong in that it would lend credibility to Floyd Landis’ claims.

While Landis himself has credibility issues as he lied for many years about his own drug use, the testimony of others would add a lot of weight to what he said.

The LA Times said that McIlvain's attorney Tom Beinart denied knowing about the voice messages. He promised that she would cooperate fully in the investigation in an "appropriate manner."

The newspaper also quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that McIlvain had been subpoenaed by the Grand Jury. It is added that Novitzky tried to interview her prior to that summons, but that she refused as her attorney was not present.

Armstrong’s new media handler Mark Fabiani dismissed the claims. “The entire Indiana hospital story is preposterous,” he said. “Lance's doctors said it didn't happen. The records show it didn't happen. The other six to seven people in that hospital room either say it didn't happen or have no recollection of any such conversation. The Andreus are the only persons who say it happened.”

Time will tell if McIlvain will stick by her previous testimony, or if she will join the Andreus in stating that the 1996 hospital incident did indeed take place.

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