15 October 2012

Lawyers slam Armstrong silence tactics

Leading lawyers for the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have criticised the 'code of silence' used by cyclist Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team as the row over performance-enhancing drugs escalates.

By James Barnes

Armstrong: a pelaton of lawyers

Armstrong: a pelaton of lawyers

In its report last week – which has now been presented to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for review – the USADA claimed that Mr Armstrong was heavily involved in a sophisticated doping regime, describing him as a ‘serial cheat’ and a ‘bully’, citing 26 witnesses.
USADA general counsel, William Bock – also partner at Indianapolis-based Kroger, Gardis & Regas – said he was proud to have pierced the ‘omertá’ which had prevented many cyclists from speaking out about doping programmes, reports the Am Law Daily.

All-star team

Bryan Cave litigation partner Richard Young, who served as outside counsel to USADA during the investigation, claimed that Mr Armstrong and his all-star team of lawyers – from Patton Boggs, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, and Keker & Van Nest – would use arbitration to bankrupt USADA.
‘Lance has more money than the agency,’ Mr Young said. ‘So I expected a contentious prehearing period, but also that we'd have a lengthy hearing and an arbitration panel would write the reasoned decision instead of us.’

However, the situation changed when Mr Armstrong – and his new legal team group led by lawyers from Patton Boggs, Williams & Connolly, and Austin's Howry Breen & Herman – chose not to contest the charges, claiming the process was rigged.

Neutral arbitrators

Last week, Howry Breen partner Timothy Herman accused the agency of acting as ‘prosecutor, judge, jury, appellate court, and executioner’. Mr Bock responded by stating: ‘If that is what they think then I suppose it makes it even more telling that [Armstrong] chose not to confront our evidence in a hearing before neutral arbitrators.’
Mr Young commented: ‘Frankly, with all of [Armstrong's] lawyers and public relations people, I think they could have done better… If that's the best they've got, I think that's pretty telling.'

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