Friday, May 18, 2007

Hue - Watch the Monkey

And the lawyer lets the monkey out of its cage and it begins to dance around. He turns to the jury and says: "Look at the monkey, look at him dance. Isn't he funny? Look at him go!"

The monkey dances and all are spellbound..... other evidence is quickly forgotten. The lawyer smiles.

This courtroom trick is known as the "dancing monkey" and USADA lawyer Matthew Barnett got to use it yesterday. USADA attorney Richard Young took advantage of it in a real and meaningful way.


While the cycling world spins over the Lemond testimony, little of it having much relevance, our foreign correspondent Marc points out (with some editing and additions by me):

"The day began with an LNDD technician admitting to errors--but only to record keeping errors. Then we get the blockbuster LeMond testimony. USADA got lucky with Will's call, but I think they were ready to pull out all the stops with a view to an equivalent effect with Floyd's DPF threat to reveal Greg's secret. (At this moment we'd say, Well that wouldn't have had anywhere near the same effect. But that's because we're really shocked by Will's call. Without that, the Landis threat might have seemed almost as shocking, played with the appropriate indignation, and might have been quite emotionally powerful enough.)

Now, after LeMond's bombshell, surely an adjournment was appropriate. But Young saw an opportunity and that was perhaps correographed. Instead of adjourning, we storm ahead with Ayotte's testimony. She comes in and says: Record keeping doesn't matter.

Young first shows the arbitrators an admission that certain errors were made. After Lemond's testimony, they are thinking, "Still, it's the science we're here to focus on"; then while everyone is emotionally unsettled Young makes sure the last thing they hear before going home is an expert witness who says the errors in #1 don't matter--and that's science.

This is a way of getting maximum bang for the USADA rebuttal of the only admission LNDD will make of having committed any error, and the arbitrators will think they're just reacting to the scientific testimony, not realizing how their hearing of that testimony may have been manipulated by the soap opera that preceded it."

"Watch the monkey as he dances, look at him, isn't he funny????" Your tax dollars are paying for the monkey and 3 lawyers to unchain him. What was once about science has turned into spectacle.

"We are searching for the truth", Travis Tygart said at the beginning of this case.

Oh, really?


Anonymous said...

What are the chances that USADA will further maximize this momentum by putting W.G. on the stand IYO?

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

Will isn't here. He has lawyers. He won't testify, i don't think.

Anonymous said...

I'm under the impression that there's a gag order, so that the Landis team can't do any PR damage control over this either, is that correct?

Anonymous said...

So Geoghegan was part of Floyd’s fairness fund? What a hypocrite.This is from the ESPN article by Bonnie DeSimone on LeMond's testimony (
“There were no public protests about the veracity of LeMond's testimony about that call. On the contrary, it seemed to be confirmed by what LeMond later characterized as Geoghegan's clumsily attempted apology during a recess, quickly followed by Suh's announcement that the cyclist had severed all professional ties with Geoghegan.”

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

There is a gag order.But the monkey is pretty isn't he? Look at that shiny coat.

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

no money from FFF was paid to will in any way. on that issue, they have issued a press release.

we are getting it and will publish, probably during the morning break.

Anonymous said...

What I still can't figure out, is why does Chewbacca live on Endor?

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

There you go-the South Park "wookie defense".Why would Chewbacca live on Endor, he's too big and they are so small???

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think about the effect that will happen because of all of the USADA legal team's egotistical arrogance - the kind that make people hate lawyers. They have just destroyed themselves in the long run - I can see an outcry from athletes over this stunt leading to the federal government dropping a hammer on them.

I've been pretty impressed with Suh so far, and Landis's case has been pretty strong, but the stunt had it's intended effect. I have been following the post-TdF Landis story long before I discovered TBV, but looking into it makes me naseaus right now. My opinion hasn't even changed about Landis or his case. In fact, I think there's more ammuntion for dropping the whole thing now than there was yesterday morning from the real testimony. I just don't have the energy to look.

USADA and WADA have always taken the stance of "How dare you defend yourself, you little liar!", but this is a new low.

And as for eurocycling, I don't even think Bob Roll's goofiness can make me watch the Tour this year, and I've watched the race since I was a little kid when 7-11 first went over there. 15 years ago I never would have thought LeMond would be the catalyst that ruins the sport for me. I feel dirty just looking at my own bike. I'm sure it's happy not to have to carry my clydesdale backside around right now.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I think you don't understand sciences. The mistake of the labs are just mistake as every day we can do. the most important is to detect it and to fix it.
Floyd is not facing to jail, he is just facing to a ban of sport.

I think your comments are the monkeys !

BTW, thanks for the report

Anonymous said...

Bill: I thought you were thrown off-stride by the circus yesterday, but you're back on today. The monkey nails it. How WOULD you like to be the peleton boss for awhile?

Anonymous said...


Did the panel rule on the motion to strike Lemond's testimony?

Laura Challoner, DVM said...


anon 9:45
We are watching the science here and the case should be about the science. If my comments are the monkeys,then the science must consist of them because that is all that i care about, along with the system, that pretends to be a court, without the important court stuff, like fairness and due process and such.

anon 9:48
No word on the evidentiary rulings concerning the Lemond testimony this morning.

Anonymous said...

OK Big Bill,

Here's what I have to say:

-The "Monkey" was unleashed by one of the key Floyd Landis supporters and advisors, Mr. Will G ...whatever his name is.

-Having Greg Lemond testify was hardly a USADA "trap" for the Landis defense team. It just brought out your fellow team members' the true colors. Do you really think Barnett (the USADA attourney who you so early in the process identified as the evil one) would have predicted and attempted to drawl-out what the Landis Business manager did?

-Bottom Line-> The monkey danced and it was the doing of the LANDIS ADVISOR?SUPPORTER?DEFENSE team!

-OK, let's get back focused on Landis'Guilt or Innocence of Doping. Let's move on to THE SCIENCE.

-As for what everyone was so distracted from, "the science."

Please educate all of us how yesterday afternoon's testimony on "the science" (chain of custody, record keeping) proved that Floyd Landis DID NOT have artificial testosterone in his system numerous times during the 2006 Tour de France.

I think I have an open mind, and I am still waiting to hear how "The Science" and "The Truth" are showing that Landis was clean?

Anonymous said...

isn't the monkey astonishingly captivating???

Laura Challoner, DVM said...

He is a pretty beast alright.

Anon 10:05

Your post is thoughtful and I appreciate it.

I can't tell you my conclusions about the science until the case comes in and the Panel gavels the hearing down. Cross examination often "sets up" direct when you get to put it on. At this rate, I don't know when that will occur, but we'll keep an open eye and mind on it, as we hope you will, too.

DBrower said...

Why is CoC relevant?

Because that (may be) a clear ISL violation, necessary to to the burden flip to make USADA prove things were done correctly.

Without ISL violations, Landis has to prove they were done incorrectly. After ISL violation is found, it's the other way. He will have raised other issues, and USADA needs to prove they all didn't cause the AAF.

It's important to get some ISL violations on records to do that burden flip.


Anonymous said...

First kangaroos, now monkeys. It's a regular zoo there. What's next, elephants? The snakes go without saying.

This may be a rhetorical question, but why did GL take it upon himself to call Floyd in the first place? Who gave him the idea that he was the grandfather of American cycling, who needed to Set Everyone Straight? If he had minded his own business and never opened his mouth in the press (GM: follow Eddy M's example, please), or called Floyd, this all would have been avoided.

I find myself wondering if GM is surprised by his own revelations on the stand yesterday, knows that USADA used him, or if he seems unmoved by the fact that he just shared very personal pain with the whole world.

Now we know why USADA wanted all the DPF records. They were going to use Floyd's posts as evidence of the supposed threats.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:30: FL called GL (not the other way around) because of what FL had heard GL say in the press. FL was trying to address the situation in a straight-foward, personal way, rather than fighting through the press. That is one thing, at least, he did right.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:45 AM, have you ever worked in a regulated environment? It's WAY different from an ordinary research lab (I did my Ph.D. academic and now work in pharma). The ordinary mistakes we all make and any variation from the SOP must be recorded and tracked. You can't just throw away "bad" data, you have to mark it as bad and keep it with the "good" data that replaces it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hue,

This is anon from 10:05. Fair enough, let's all wait until further testimony unfolds before assessing what "The Science" has told us. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Dancing Monkey is renowned for it's effectiveness.

But not nearly as compelling as the Chewbacca Defense.

Laura Challoner, DVM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

11:25 beat me to mentioning the standards for FDA trials....the actions of LNDD would fail miserably during a clinical audit for a FDA trial.

Having been involved in both academic research and FDA clinic trials, we've brought the standards used for clinical trials to our testing lab because of the risk of our data being questioned in court and not wanting to have to answer with "it's ok because i said it's ok"...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see some people have watched the monkey and then turned back to the main ring. Under the rules Landis cannot challenge the science underlying the test (does it produce too many false positives: What should the triggering thresh hold be for athletes?, etc.) What he can and must do is question the competency of the lab. The rules prevent him from using any employee from a certified lab to do this.

The powers that be have tried to cram what is really a quasi-criminal prosecution into a framework that does not accomodate it. The first hurdle for Landis is the presumption that the testing was done correctly. That means that the lab should have done what was required by applicable standards for certifications of the lab. You don't have to be pro-Landis to see the record keeping was sloppy - both on chain of custody and on the conduct of tests - manual correction/adjustment of automatically generated results without notation of what was done, etc.

It is expensive and time consuming to keep the handwritten records, to print out data that is then adjusted, etc. But failing to do so means that no one can review the process and see exactly what was done, when, and what the effect was. If someone could, then it might hurt Landis' case, or help it. The issue is that no one can tell. The heart of science is repeatability, the same result should be obtained when different people do the same thing. If you do not know what they did, then it isn't science anymore, it is someone saying I did it correctly, trust me.

Bill, I love your monkey. It is a perfect example of why the courts went to pre-trial discovery. For those who are movie buffs: The courtroom tap dance in Chicago is right out of the trial court attorneys' handbook. When thrown by something, you try to dazzle the judge/jury with your oral dexterity or misdirection. Hey, look/listen to this! Something to fall back on when you don't have a monkey on call.