“Lance Armstrong Under Investigation for Obstruction, Witness Tampering and Intimidation: Exclusive”

February 7, 2013

ABC News on February 5, 2013 released the following:

“By NEAL KARLINSKY

Federal investigators are in the midst of an active criminal investigation of disgraced former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, ABC News has learned.

The revelation comes in stark contrast to statements made by the U.S. Attorney for Southern California, Andre Birotte, who addressed his own criminal inquiry of Armstrong for the first time publicly on Tuesday. Birotte’s office spent nearly two years investigating Armstrong for crimes reportedly including drug distribution, fraud and conspiracy — only to suddenly drop the case on the Friday before the Super Bowl last year.

Sources at the time said that agents had recommended an indictment and could not understand why the case was suddenly dropped.

Today, a high level source told ABC News, “Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole.”

According to the source, who agreed to speak on the condition that his name and position were not used because of the sensitivity of the matter, “Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.”

An email to an attorney for Armstrong was not immediately returned.

Earlier Tuesday, during a Department of Justice news conference on another matter, Birotte was confronted with the Armstrong question unexpectedly. The following is a transcript of that exchange:

Q: Mr. Birotte, given the confession of Lance Armstrong to all the things —

Birotte: (Off mic.)

Q: — to all thethings that you, in the end, decided you couldn’t bring a case about, can you give us your thoughts on that case now and whether you might take another look at it?

Birotte: We made a decision on that case, I believe, a little over a year ago. Obviously we’ve been well-aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong and other media reports. That has not changed my view at this time. Obviously, we’ll consider, we’ll continue to look at the situation, but that hasn’t changed our view as I stand here today.

The source said that Birotte is not in the loop on the current criminal inquiry, which is being run out of another office.

Armstrong confessed to lying and using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Investigators are not concerned with the drug use, but Armstrong’s behavior in trying to maintain his secret by allegedly threatening and interfering with potential witnesses.

Armstrong is currently serving a lifetime ban in sport handed down by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. He has been given a Feb. 6 deadline to tell all under oath to investigators or lose his last chance at a possible break on the lifetime ban.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Clemens Retrial Set to Begin With Prosecutors on Notice

April 13, 2012
Roger Clemens

The New York Times on April 12, 2012 released the following:

“By JULIET MACUR

WASHINGTON — After bungling its first attempt at prosecuting Roger Clemens on charges that he lied to Congress about his steroid use, the government on Monday will start its second effort to convict him in federal court.

Like the initial trial last July, this one is expected to unfold over four to six weeks before Clemens — one of baseball’s greatest pitchers — learns his fate. And like the previous trial, the testimony of one man, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, could turn out to be the strongest evidence against Clemens.

Yet prosecutors are likely to approach this do-over effort a little differently than the first attempt, considering how their big error during Clemens’s first trial nearly derailed their entire case. Judge Reggie Walton of United States District Court declared a mistrial after only two days of testimony because the government showed jurors evidence that he had deemed inadmissible.

“The government starts out with at least one strike against it because of what it did last time, and that can only be good for the defense,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who teaches a course called the Law of Baseball. “I think the government will be very gun-shy this time. You will see the tamest prosecutors ever.”

But the prosecutors still want to win, probably more than ever — and not just to redeem themselves after their public embarrassment.

The federal government is quite aware that it has a flawed track record when it comes to investigating and prosecuting high-profile athletes accused of crimes related to performance-enhancing drug use. It has spent millions of dollars over the better part of a decade only to have several high-profile outcomes fall well short of the punishment it sought.

Last year, Barry Bonds, who holds the major league record for home runs in a season and a career, was convicted on only one of five counts that stemmed from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative steroids investigation. Found guilty of obstructing justice, Bonds was sentenced to what prosecutors considered a lenient two years of probation and six months of home confinement. He is appealing the conviction.

In addition, the federal government this year dropped its nearly two-year drug investigation of Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, with hardly an explanation as to why it did so.

“Having gone this far, after all that has happened, the government has to win the Clemens case,” Dershowitz said. “But they have to win fairly.”

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has been charged with perjury, making false statements and obstruction of Congress. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts. The government contends that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone, during his career and that he lied about that drug use when he testified to Congress in 2008.

The main arguments on both sides are expected to be the same as they were last summer. Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer, is expected to testify that he gave Clemens performance-enhancing drugs. Pettitte, Clemens’s former teammate and former close friend, is expected to testify that Clemens admitted to him that he had used human growth hormone.

Lawyers for Clemens have called McNamee a liar and have contended that Pettitte did not accurately remember his conversation with Clemens.

“To some extent, it’s still a he said, she said,” said Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor who is not involved with the case. “It will all come down to corroborating evidence.”

But one big difference this time around, some legal experts said, is that Judge Walton has shown disdain not only for the case, but for the prosecutors as well.

An irritated Walton last July scolded the prosecutors for showing jurors inadmissible evidence, saying even a first-year law student would have avoided the gaffe. He said he found it difficult to believe that the prosecutors had not made the mistake on purpose.

He also went as far as to raise the question of whether the government should reimburse Clemens for the money he spent on the mistrial.

Daniel C. Richman, a criminal law professor at Columbia University, said Walton might make it even harder on the prosecutors to succeed this time around.

“It appears that he has real issues with the government’s pursuit of the case and threw a brushback pitch at them last time,” Richman said. “Had this been a murder case, I doubt that the judge would have talked about reimbursement for the defendant. It shows a level of solicitude for the defendant that you don’t normally see.”

Richman added that judges have “an enormous amount of discretion” on how they manage trials and what evidence they let in, and that it often reflects what they think of the case. In turn, the judge’s attitude can rub off on the jury.

“Juries are very open to taking signals from judges because the judge is the one person they respect as neutral,” he said. “If the judge doesn’t like the case, they’ll figure it out, and an experienced judge is certainly aware of that.”

Still, the prosecution has said it is confident in its case. It contends it has “overwhelming evidence” against Clemens, including cotton balls and syringes with traces of steroids and Clemens’s DNA.

It also has the potentially powerful testimony of Pettitte, a highly respected player and one long prized by his teammates for being loyal and accountable. Pettitte and Clemens were teammates for nine seasons, with the Yankees and the Houston Astros.

Last summer, Pettitte was in his first year of retirement, and his testimony, had it taken place, would probably not have been a major distraction for the Yankees. This time, though, the circumstances are different.

Pettitte decided to come out of retirement last month and rejoin the Yankees, and he is currently pitching in the team’s minor league system as he works his way back into pitching shape.

He could be ready to pitch in the major leagues by the beginning of May, meaning he may be back with the Yankees when he is summoned to testify against Clemens. If so, the Yankees and Pettitte would find themselves in an extremely uncomfortable position, with reporters, fans and players all aware that Pettitte could deal a potentially serious blow to a former teammate.

Pettitte’s testimony is crucial to the government’s case, Walton said, so crucial that it is what caused the mistrial in the first place.

Walton stopped the trial last summer after the jury was shown evidence bolstering Pettitte’s testimony. The prosecution had played a videotape for the jury that contained a part of the 2008 Congressional hearings on performance-enhancing drug use in baseball.

The tape showed Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, making positive comments about Pettitte’s credibility and also showed Cummings reading an affidavit from Pettitte’s wife, Laura. In the affidavit, she said that her husband had told her that Clemens had confided in him about his use of human growth hormone.

Her testimony had been deemed inadmissible by Walton the week before, and the videotape thus incurred his wrath and quickly led to the mistrial.

Now comes the sequel.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Prosecutors drop Lance Armstrong doping investigation

February 6, 2012

CNN on February 3, 2012 released the following:

“By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer

(CNN) — Justice Department prosecutors said Friday that they are closing a criminal investigation of champion cyclist Lance Armstrong without filing charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

A statement from the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said the seven-time Tour de France winner will not be charged, but did not explain the reasons for the decision.

Armstrong has consistently denied doping. He was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by other riders, but never failed a drug test.

Late Friday, he released a statement in which he said he was “gratified” to learn that prosecutors are closing their investigation.

“It is the right decision and I commend them for reaching it. I look forward to continuing my life as a father, a competitor and an advocate in the fight against cancer without this distraction,” Armstrong said.

Prosecutors called witnesses to a federal grand jury in Los Angeles as they investigated the case, but they apparently determined that they lacked evidence to bring a charge.

In May 2011, Armstrong once again denied claims from a former teammate that he used drugs during his cycling career.

Armstrong has been dogged by allegations of drugs abuse in recent years with compatriot Floyd Landis — who was found guilty of doping in the 2006 Tour de France resulting in him being stripped of the title — making a series of claims last year.

Armstrong came out fighting once again in May, in the face of fresh allegations made on the CBS News “60 Minutes” show by another American Tyler Hamilton.

On his Twitter page, Armstrong said at the time: “I have had a 20-year career, 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition, and never a failed test. I rest my case.”

In the CBS interview, Hamilton — who retired in 2009 after twice testing positive himself — says he first saw Armstrong use blood boosting substance EPO in 1999, the year of his first Tour de France victory.

“I saw it in his refrigerator,” Hamilton told the American news program. “I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times.”

Hamilton added: “Armstrong took what we all took — the majority of the peloton took. There was EPO, testosterone, blood transfusions.”

Meanwhile, Armstrong’s lawyer Mark Fabiani blasted the “60 Minutes” report, releasing a statement saying: “Hamilton is actively seeking to make money by writing a book.

“He has completely changed the story he has always told before so that he could get himself on “60 Minutes” and increase his chances with publishers.”

Fabiani continued: “Greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over 20 years of competition.””

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.