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"
Here's what happened. Lemond testified that he confided in Landis after the Landis "A" sample came back positive, that coming clean would help Landis.Lemond testified that Landis said "what good would that do" and "that it would hurt his friends". USADA wanted that testimony in evidence 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) by trying to show Landis would threaten Lemond to keep him quiet. 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 (his sexual abuse) as blackmail if Lemond ever mentioned his name again. Landis did this publicly, under his own name, on an internet forum. Lemond further indicated that he was aware of that "threat".
The inference Barnett 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 Lemond's 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.
Will was fired by Landis with suh making the announcement on the record. What he did, why he did it or if he did it at all, will be explored by others somewhere else.
The arbitrators have to decide whether to strike the testimony because Lemond's lawyer told him not to answer questions about the Armstrong matter 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 because his questions were designed to attack Lemond's credibility. 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 if they don't strike the evidence. Even if the Panel strikes the evidence, the damage has been done. USADA took control of the PR war here. At worst, Landis wanted to win the PR battle even if he lost the hearing 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".
Anon 4:50 asks these questions:
"why is lemond refusing to answer certain questions? and why does landis' defense team care about those subjects or are they just going there knowing lemond won't answer in the hope that the arbitrators will throw out all the testimony?
I don't know why the lawyer instructed him not to answer and it wasn't clear there was a legal reason. that was frustrating to Jacobs. Landis hopes to have the testimony thrown out for that reason, the witness wouldn't answer questions.
and is my impression that this is just one big kangaroo court accurate or is this how arbitrations normally proceed?
This looks to be the norm for these kinds of proceedings CAS-AAA arbitrations.
last question: i understand that it's a 2-1 thing against landis and that the 1 is the guy the athletes always choose. but if he and the USADA guy have to agree on a third chairman, why wouldn't he insist that the third arbitrator not be a genuinely neutral person?
The math of the selection process favors the ADA. the athletes get 1/3 of the pool. the ADS get 1/3 and the National Federations 1/3. when you can't agree on a third, after the athlete names his and the ADA names there, each strikes the remaining names until a common name is chosem. Matmatixcally, after 15 strikes, only people in the pool named bt an ADA or a National federation will be left. so that is how it gets to be 2 to 1.
More tomorrow. Bill is tired and needs a bike ride to clear his head and heart.