Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hue- Lemond's Cross explodes

Panel takes its place. Lemond is gone. Barnett goes to look for him.He's here with his lawyer.
McLaren says the Panel will allow the cross.Lemond 's attorney instructs him not to answer and he won't answer questions about Armstrong depositions.

[MORE]


Jacobs moves to strike. McLaren invites other questions. Jacobs wants to know if they will strike. McLaren says stop or get a ruling at the end of the day. Jacobs chooses to go on.

Barnett tries to talk over McLaren who wants to terminate and receive written argument at the end of the day. good choice by Jacobs who tries to go on. Lemond's attorney instructs Lemond not to answer and he won't. McLaren says they can't make him.

Barnett says the evidence is very relevant and Jacobs says the hearing is unfair. McLaren says it is fair and he terminates the examination and dismisses the witness.

Geohagen seeks legal advise so he isn't ready to go. Barnett yields.

A recess is called and the press flee in mass. The Panel takes this in with smiles. Suh announces that Landis has fired Geohagen as of "right now". Barnett can't let it go. He wants to know what Will was fired from. suh says whatever it is or was, its over now. Brunet says "Fair enough"

Geohagen has left with his wife(?) via the lawyer's entry.

Ms Ayette of the Montreal lab is called. It hardly matters, it seems. young handles the direct. she does speak english.

A reader asks:
Bill - Can you give us a description of Will's demeanor? I mean, is he angry, red-faced, ashen, genuflecting, etc.? What's he doing? How is HE handling this allegation???I would NEVER suspect him of this.-RW, OBC

He seemed stunned. Mr Suh had some very intense face to face with him during the Lemond testimony. Suh turned and Will's head sunk. A few times, he leaned forward to speak to Suh, who was talking to him. When called to testify he stood and moved forward. His wife(?) was sitting next to him and they were touching but I don't know if they were holding hands, I couldn't see.

Once he was fired, he stood with her and they moved quickly out the lawyer's entry. He is seeking counsel and that is why he isn't testifying now. i understand witness tampering in any authorized legal proceeding in California is a felony, punishable by prison; Code 136.1.

Young is asking the witness her opinion about whether International Standards were violated. Jacobs objects and is over-ruled by McLaren who seems to now have taken over rule on such things.

A reader states:

"Landis is irresponsible for having such an idiot work for him. I am just devistated by the occurances today. They should just say that they find him guilty and let us get on with our lives."

I think there is a case here that continues on but momentum may have swung drastically in the court of Public opinion, where Landis hoped to win even if he lost here. The air is out of the room. Mr McLaren ssems to be handling the rulings. The head of the Montreal lab is testifying that no IS's were violated. So we move on to the inevitable end, perhaps.

A reader states:

"I'd like to congratulate the "braintrust" within the USADA legal team for being responsible for bringing in this dubious line of questioning. It was quite predictable that it would be long on sensationalism and short on substance. It was a cheap PR stunt at the expense of Landis and LeMond. Bravo USADA, give yourselves a big pat on the back!"

His name is Matthew Barnett and this was his baby (and still is because he gets to examine Will who may plead the 5th when called later today but for maximum replay, probably tomorrow, on lawyer's advise if in fact any statement might incriminate him..... that is for his counsel to decide). Mr Barnett will sleep well tonight perhaps after a toast to his good fortunes. All of my reporting on him forshadowed this role for him, exactly.

TBV and Bill had to take a walk. This is so bizarre.

A reader asks:

"Sorry for being an idiot, but given how everyone is going on and on about what a big deal this is, i have to ask:can someone please provide a narrative for what actually happened today? I've read your various posts from today's testimony but still don't quite have a handle on it all since so much seemed to have happened so quickly.thanks.

Here's what happened. Lemond testified that he confided in Landis after the "A" samples came back positive that coming clean whould help Landis. Landis said "what good would that do" and "that it would hurt his friends". USADA wanted that to imply that Landis had "admitted" doping to Lemond. That is relevant and left at that ok. But Barnett, he of the pitbull role, went to the next concept, which is marginally relevant: that Landis is a bad guy, fully capable of doing whatever he needs to do to win (including doping). Your tax dollars at work.

Lemond told Landis that talking about his past sexual abuse helped him comquer the future. Later, Landis threatened to expose Lemonds secret if Lemomond ever mentioned his name on an internet forum and Lemond indicated that he was aware of that "threat". The inference Barnett also wanted was that Landis knew Lemond knew the truth and threatened him to shut him up. This is unseemly but not out of bounds.

Last night, Will Geoghegan, Landis' manager, apparantly using a telephone registered to himself, called Lemond and said he was Lemonds uncle and that they would play "hide the weenie" or words to that effect tomorrow (the day of Lemond's testimony). Lemond's wife was here today as was his lawyer. Lemond says he took the comment to be a further threat and that as a result of a previous call which was on speaker phone, his wife heard this call too. Lemond called the number back and got Will's message server, re-called and got Will who said he was Bill and that he didn't call Lemond. Then Lemond called the police. Lemond's cell was put on an overhead projector and everyone could see the numbers.

Witness threats or witness tampering is a felony in California. The entry of this evidence into the record is marginally relevant, as a link to Landis' prior "threat" but it is highly emotional and highly charged. It is the "stuff" though, for which Mr Barnett is here to do. Jacobs had a prepared cross examination because everyone knew about the Landis internet statements but the examination related to Lance Armstrong and threats Lemond said Armstrong made against him in the depositions taken in the Armstrong lawsuit against the insurance company.
Lemond's lawyer instructed him not to answer questions and he refused to answer questions.

The matter stalemated and Lemond was dismissed. The arbitrators have to decide whether to strike the testimony because Lemond's lawyer told him not to answer or let it stand.

Given what i have seen, I believe the Panel, perhaps 2 to 1. will not strike the testimony and will let it stand. they will say Jacobs waived the right to examine by not following McLaren's invitation to ask questions other than the Armstrong questions i.e Who were you talking to before the call came in (from the records). why was the phone on speaker? Or he could have asked other questions about the internet matters etc. He chose to take all or nothing. the Panel will give him the nothing and deal with whatever weight they want to assign to the testimony. I feel they will give it little weight compared to the science issues. however, USADA took control of the PR war here.

At worst, Landis wanted to win the PR battle even if he lost 2 to 1 or even 3 to 0 as the "victim" of a corrupt system. USADA turned Lemond into the victim and Landis directly and through his advisors, the "bad guy".

10 comments:

Brian said...

Landis is irresponsible for having such an idiot work for him. I am just devistated by the occurances today. They should just say that they find him guilty and let us get on with our lives.

Anonymous said...

It feels like stage 16 all over again.

Anonymous said...

If we have not raced to the finish line at the bottom, we are dangerously close.

If Will G did what he seems to be accused of, he'll have to face the consequences of his actions. If he did it, his actions were dispicable. If he didn't do it, LeMond's claims are dispicable. Either way, someone was low down and dirty. I'd like to congratulate the "braintrust" within the USADA legal team for being responsible for bringing in this dubious line of questioning. It was quite predictable that it would be long on sensationalism and short on substance. It was a cheap PR stunt at the expense of Landis and LeMond. Bravo USADA, give yourselves a big pat on the back!

LeMond's most effective avenue for redress regarding the call he described is to take the matter up with the police as a potential criminal act, as he has done. He cannot expect any effective action to be taken by the arb panel.

Finally, how the arbs could entertain the notion of not striking LeMond's testinony is numbing. LeMond neeeded to be all in or all out. If the Landis side cannot cross, Lemond's testimony on direct cannot stand.

Jeff from Newark, DE

bill hue said...

Jeff,It will stand. that is a dead-lock cinch.
bill

Anonymous said...

Landis is not irresponsible for Will's actions - unless he participated. He removed him appropriately. And now hopefully he will move on. He is still in the middle of the fight of his life.

Jason

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened or didn't happen with Lemond his little to do with whether Landis used performance enhancing drugs or not in my opinion. It’s a whole lot of verbal chatter that doesn’t prove anything one way or the other and can’t possibly be substantiated. I’m sure the Landis side will counter with their side of the story that will leave the issue unresolved in terms of proving what really happened or didn’t happen between them. It will be Lemond’s word vs Landis’ word. Nothing is proven.

Either the USADA can defend what they’ve done to establish Landis had performance enhancing drugs in his system or not. Virtual verbal hearsay from Lemond has little bearing on that issue given his past with Armstrong and his position at the outset on Landis – before they had talked.

What went on or didn’t go on with Lemond does little to bring us any closer to the truth.

cleduc

Anonymous said...

Get past the stunned feeling and I think most folks should end up where Jeff did.

I cannot believe that a "fair" process will let a witness decide what questions he will answer and the ones he will not. Jacobs played it well in trying to proceed. If "the majority" does not strike Lemond's testimony, then they have abdicated all control over the testimonial evidence, except preventing testimony being given. And there is no appellate authority to tell them that they got it wrong.

Also noteworthy that the railroad engineer is making the train keep rolling down the track. Landis' attorneys must be in turmoil and in most courts I think there would be an adjournment to permit the issue to be briefed and decided. The panel could then put the screws to USADA/WADA to bring lemond back in or lose his testimony and get into the refusal issue. Or (more likely and by "the majority") not. But the dust would settle and then it could move on.

Unfortunately, I think Bill Hie is correct, all hope of the appearance of due process and fairness is down the chute.
pcrosby

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill,
I understand your position and agree with you opinion. My point was intended to highlight the blatant unfairness of the (likely, eventual, already made?) ruling not to strike LeMond's testimony. Regardless of whether it was truthful or false, the Landis side did not have anything approaching a reasonable opportunity to examine, question, or counter his testimony. The arb panel essentially sanctioned (allowed, approved, endorsed) LeMond making unsupported statements that have been taken in the hearing as fact, without the Landis side having the chance to probe the accuracy of his statements. LeMond was allowed to very publically drop a highly damaging bomb and then leave.

The USADA legal team was responsible for bringing us this sad soap opera. It's distressing that they would stoop so low at the expense of both LeMond and Landis.

Let me be perfectly clear for any USADA and LeMond supporters reading this: USADA purposley threw Greg LeMond under the bus to make a minor legal point and incredibly major / sensational PR point against Landis. USADA did Greg LeMond no favors and much damage. Congrats USADA legal team braintrust! I'm so proud to be among the public that pays the majority of your salary. Not!
Jeff from Newark, DE

Anonymous said...

sorry for being an idiot, but given how everyone is going on and on about what a big deal this is, i have to ask:

can someone please provide a narrative for what actually happened today? i've read your various posts from today's testimony but still don't quite have a handle on it all since so much seemed to have happened so quickly.

thanks.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:00. I don't know if anybody has a handle on it all but Rant gives a very good description of the Lemond testimony (click here).