FBI investigates Armstrong-Hamilton row at Cache Cache restaurant
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FBI investigates Armstrong-Hamilton row at Cache Cache restaurant

by VeloNation Press at 8:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Federal agents to seek surveillance video of Aspen venue

Lance armstrongFollowing earlier reports that Tyler Hamilton’s legal team has made an official complaint about what it claims was threatening behaviour by Lance Armstrong against him, the FBI has made a request for video tapes from the Cache Cache restaurant.

The New York Times quoted co-owner Jodi Larner as saying that a FBI agent she spoke to on Monday morning said that she would be subpoenaed for the surveillance tape.

However Larner claimed that only images from the kitchen area of the restaurant are recorded, rather than any from the dining area. She has said that there are cameras in the latter section, but that they are 'non functional'. “I wish I had the incident on tape, so the whole world could see what happened between Tyler and Lance, and shut up about it already,” she said. “It was a non-event.”

Hamilton describes things very differently, saying afterwards that the Texan was irate over Hamilton’s recent statement that his team-mate used banned substances and also helped others to do so. Those claims were made last month on the CBS 60 Minutes TV show.

He said that Armstrong stopped him and began to ‘berate him.’ Earlier today, ESPN quoted Hamilton’s lawyer Chris Manderson as saying that Armstrong demanded repeatedly to know how much he was paid to do the 60 Minutes slot, and told him that that his legal team would “*** destroy you," "tear you apart on the witness stand," and "make your life a living *** hell."

Armstrong told Outside Magazine on Sunday that he simply said to Hamilton, ‘hey, what’s up?’, that the exchange was ‘certainly awkward for both of us’ but that it was ‘truly uneventful.’

Manderson said that the federal authorities had been notified and that they would decide whether or not to bring charges of witness tampering.

Detail of incident

The New York Times quoted Larner as telling it that local resident Armstrong eats there approximately three times a week, and that he was having tequila at the bar with his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, on Saturday night. Larner and two other friends were also drinking with Armstrong. She said that Hamilton walked past at approximately 10pm, and that Armstrong stopped him and said, “ ‘Hey dude,’ in a very sarcastic tone.” She added that Hamilton looked shaken and tried to hug Armstrong.

She claimed that she didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but that Armstrong remained seated throughout on his barstool.

The newspaper also quotes Tony DiLucia, a patron and local real estate broker, who was standing next to the two ex riders. He told the New York Times that he too couldn’t hear what was being said.

“It looked like two guys having an intense conversation, but Lance never stood up and Hamilton just stood there,” DiLucia said. “In my honest estimation, I never saw any aggressive stuff happen at all. If things were heated, you’d figure Lance would at least get up.”

Di Lucia was invited to drink with Armstrong afterwards. It is not clear if he was part of the Texan's group. Meanwhile Hamilton was allowed finish his meal, but then barred from ever returning to the restaurant; Larner claims this was because his group didn't tip.

She has been described as a friend of Armstrong's and, given her links to him, federal agents are likely to seek out other witnesses. It will be interesting to see if any camera footage was filmed, or indeed if payment records can be used to pinpoint who was in Cache Cache that night and could give their own personal account.

Manderson is clear on what he wants to happen when investigators arrive. "I hope federal investigators interview the restaurant owner and those in Armstrong's entourage under penalty of perjury to force them to tell the truth about the incident," he told AP.


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