Friday, May 11, 2007

Henson Statement from Landis Press Conference

Before the Q/A with media, Henson and Landis read statements. This is the official text of Henson's, reformatted.


Los Angeles, May 11, 2007 - Over the past 10 months, Floyd’s team of scientific and legal advisors have conducted full due diligence on the accusations against him, and have worked hard to publicly establish the facts of Floyd’s innocence; our efforts to repair the damage done to Floyd’s reputation and the luster of his performance during Stage 17 of the Tour are based on best practice science that proves, beyond doubt, that Floyd won the Tour de France fair and square. Dr. Baker has worked tirelessly – on a pro-bono basis – along with a team of world-class scientists and experts to show that the pseudo-science being used as evidence against Floyd is flawed to the point of absurdity.

Now, we enter a new phase, one in which we will bring our strongest arguments to bear in an open hearing where the USADA will be held by the public to account on the record for their unfounded accusations. As ever, we are confident that the facts of the matter bear the proof of Floyd’s innocence. If this case is heard on its merits from a fair and unbiased perspective, we are confident that Floyd’s innocence will be validated by the Panel.

On the eve of a proceeding that is poised to be a watershed case in the history of anti-doping disputes, however, our long-held concerns about the fairness of this -- and all anti-doping adjudications held under the USADA Supplementary Procedures – have been amplified by recent developments in the case.

It is important to note that we support the mission of the anti-doping movement. At the same time, however, the deep systemic problems in science, ethics and law that plague the current WADA system are an impediment to the success of that mission. Clearly, we have not been shy in making known our objections to the ethical blindness of the USADA legal process. The governing bodies of sport should be held to the same high ethical standard to which they hold athletes. Currently, however, these secretive and incestuous bureaucracies operate without checks and balances and their adjudicative rules are tantamount to those of a Star Chamber. As such, their mission, while laudable in theory, is corrupted by their actions and attitudes. Over time, Floyd has built a record of legitimate grievances that, if gone unheeded, will guarantee continued losses in the fight against doping in sport.

The mishandling of Floyd’s case threatens not only the integrity of this individual proceeding, but reflects the lack of integrity in the entire anti-doping system. The prosecution’s egregious breaches of ethical conduct, serial mendacity, consistent denial to provide Floyd with basic legal protections and due process rights, failure to meet a burden of proof consistent with the seriousness of the allegations, and USADA’s win at the cost of justice mentality is one of the reasons why doping in sport continues to damage public trust in athletes and their accomplishments.

The pattern of abuse that has prejudiced Floyd’s proceeding has been characterized by the prosecuting body’s willingness to make and break rules in order to reach a desired outcome. This misuse of power against Floyd’s defense and on his ability to have his case heard in a fair forum has led his defense team to examine all legal options.

USADA has used the narrow discovery process available in this type of proceeding to limit Floyd’s ability to mount a full and fair defense, to impair his right to free speech and his first amendment right to petition Congress and to diminish his ability to fund his defense. To date, we still have not received from USADA critical pieces of discovery that the Panel has ordered produced. We are four days away from the proceeding. USADA has proven itself willing to promote the findings of a demonstrably corrupt and incompetent French lab, and they may well hold information that supports our already substantial evidence supporting this contention.

Perhaps more disturbing, even, is USADA’s willingness to destroy evidence that could ensure the success of Floyd’s defense even in the face of an unfair system. An overview of USADA’s actions in this regard includes, but is not limited to:

1. Willful Destruction of Evidence

First, re-testing of “B” samples at LNDD, the very lab at issue in this case, and conducting the retesting in the absence of a Panel appointed independent expert while systematically excluding Floyd’s experts from key portions of the retesting (including data processing, analysis and two days of analysis). Then, while the LNDD was under the control of USADA erasing the hard drive destroying the original data on Floyd‚s Stage 17 test. Finally, altering the file while accessing it hours before the arrival of outside experts.

2. USADAs Has Refused to Produce Documents in Response to the Panel’s Order[1]

USADA consistently refuses to provide documents in its possession in direct violation of the panel’s order and has left itself room to introducing such evidence during the hearing, resulting in a “trial by surprise.”

3. USADA Has Prevented Floyd from Obtaining Access to Key Witnesses

On January 3, 2007 USADA wrote to Floyd’s counsel forbidding him from talking to any fact witnesses in the case, including but not limited to witnesses employed by the LNDD. This attempt to keep Floyd’s attorney from talking to fact witnesses is an intimidation tactic and abuse of discovery that was a direct effort to prevent him from talking to persons with knowledge of the relevant facts.

4. USADA clearly attempted to foreclose Floyd’s ability to fund his defense and exercise his first amendment rights when it sent him discovery requests demanding the identity of contributors to the Floyd Fairness Fund and records about his contacts with Members of Congress

In an April 3 document request, USADA attempted to prevent Floyd from being able to pay for his defense, or to interest members of Congress in the unfair treatment athletes can expect to receive at the hands of the federally-funded USADA. In that document request, USADA’s counsel asked that he disclose the identity of each and every contributor to the FFF who donated over $250 USD and that he disclose the nature and substance of any contact that Floyd may have had with government officials in an effort to “coerce” them into interfering with the arbitration process.

USADA’s actions are consistent with those of WADA, their parent organization, as well as with other sports bureaucrats operating with no oversight. From the very beginning of this affair, there was no discretion exercised by the relevant International Sports Federations and WADA. The confluence of circumstances around the leaking of critical information regarding his case before there was a complete test forced Floyd to defend himself publicly without any critical information and while he was learning the facts in real time, often after the governing bodies issued reports to the media.

Remember that on July 26, Pat McQuaid announced that there was an Adverse Analytical Finding in one of the athletes‚ “A” samples taken after Stage 17. As Mr. McQuaid explained, the rider to whom the adverse belonged was the “worst case scenario.” He then justified the UCI‚s premature release of this information by stating “We know that the French laboratory has a close connection with L'Equipe" - France's leading sports newspaper - "and we did not want this news to come through the press, because we are sure they would have leaked it." The acknowledgement of a guaranteed leak at a WADA accredited lab is particularly disconcerting coming from the head of an international governing body of sport. Labs are not supposed to be able to identify samples, nor should they leak information to news sources. Athlete confidentiality and proper results management are fundamental principles of ethical scientific testing. A few days later, on July 31, an unnamed source within the UCI leaked the flawed results of Landis‚ Carbon Isotope Ratio analysis on his “A” sample to the New York Times. (Disturbingly and despite recognition of the problem, a leak to L’Equipe is a scenario that replayed itself when they reported unsourced information about scientifically unsupported results from the recent retesting.)

The announcement immediately put Landis’ career and livelihood in jeopardy. In the wake of premature announcements regarding a scientifically unsubstantiated positive test, Landis and his family have had to cope with the glare of negative publicity, a tarnished reputation and tremendous emotional stress.

In the months that followed, WADA chairman Dick Pound continued to violate WADA Code rules prohibiting public comment on pending cases by making defamatory and false comments in The Ottawa Citizen, The New York Times, Wired, and most recently Bicycling. It is strikingly odd that Mr. Pound -- someone who shows a willful disregard for the truth and the integrity of due process through his continued willingness to breach the sanctity of athlete confidentiality -- would take the moral high ground on the issue of lifting the “gag” order on ADOs during the next round of WADA Code revision[2], particularly given that Pound has been impugned by the IOC[3] and the WADA executive committee[4] for making comments that were injurious to an athlete’s reputation. Floyd will be appealing to IOC to further censure Mr. Pound for violating fundamental principles inherent to the WADA code by filing an ethical complaint in the coming days.

It has been our goal since the beginning to engage in a public campaign that is founded on the democratic ideal that open dialogue will lead to system-wide reform and that such reform will result in a more successful anti-doping system. Crucial to that campaign has been our effort to shine a bright light on a dark and incestuous process that has wrongly accused Floyd of doping, and that has stubbornly proceeded with its prosecution without regard for fairness or truth. It is our hope that through changes driven by the egregiousness of Floyd’s case, athletes will no longer be disenfranchised and subject to the whims of the punitive and ineffective model that currently corrupts anti-doping enforcement. Messrs. Brunet, McClaren and Campbell can begin the process for positive change by reviewing the USADA’s unethical prosecution in relation to the principles of justice and fairness. In an open and public forum, we know that the truth will be clear to all.

[1] As of the pre-hearing press conference, 5/10/07

[2] For further discussion of this issue, please see the FFF White Paper, On WADA’s Proposed Revision to WADA Code 14.2 “Public Disclosure”, 5/4/07. The White Paper can be accessed at

[3] On February 2, The IOC endorsed an ethics commission's finding in relation to the case of Lance Armstrong’s that Pound's public remarks "could have been regarded as likely to impugn the probity" of Armstrong and noted that the remarks ran contrary to the Olympic charter's goal of "a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play" within the movement. The ethics commission had recommended on Feb. 2 that the IOC executive board "remind [Pound] of the obligation to exercise greater prudence … when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputation of others."

[4] Scott Burns, Deputy Director for State and Local Affairs at ONDCP and the US representative to the WADA executive committee, openly criticized Pound's penchant for disregarding due process by making pre-trial public statements presuming guilt, calling such statements "the antithesis of what was done at WADA ... to speak out or speculate precipitously, especially in public." [WADA Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, September, 2005]