Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hue-Can't Get There From Here

This scene is one of the most mind boggling things I have ever witnessed in any court. Ms Mongongu is testifying and has been since 11:00 this morning. The matter has adjourned until 2:00. About 10 minutes of practical testimony has been received due to severe interpretation problems (She speaks French but does know some English).

Pursuant to pretrial orders, the parties are required to provide translators, if necessary. The translation is not simultaneous and Mr Brunet, who speaks French and English, has inserted himself into the matter, to correct translation and to attempt to aid in technical scientific terminology. The interpreter chosen by USADA for the very important task and very important witness is not competent. The irony of that has not been lost on anyone here.

Ms Mongongu is one of the LNDD technicians involved in some aspect of both the "A" and "B" Stage 17 samples. Landis had requested that she be deposed in Paris where she lived so that the Landaluze issues could be explored and eliminated or highlighted for trial. USADA vigorously objected and in a 3 to 0 decision (no authority to compel but Campbell prophetically thought if there was ever a case to allow it, this would be it), the Panel agreed with USADA and prohibited discovery. The benefit of discovery is to avoid wasting time at trial. Today the chickens come home to roost because the method of translation has delayed the case for hours and we have not even examined the substance of the testimony.

A new translator is on the way as we wait.


Brian - TheRoadBike.com said...

Is there a doctor, i mean translator in the house? This is the kind of sloppy work that we have come to expect from USADA.

cam said...

this is simply ridiculous! i'm from los angeles (but live in france) and the city is simply teeming with competent translators. this really makes USADA look shoddy!

Anonymous said...

JDog - Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors! USADA is using all it has in their bag of tricks to confuse, delay and pull the wool over people's eyes to try and confuse the situation and the general public.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the invaluable service you are providing. Both the analysis and the color commentray is wonderful.

Who in their right mind agreed to have the party supply their own translator? The panel should have identified what was needed and then provided one that the parties could agree upon. This is simply bush league....easily anticipated and easily solved as I indicated in earlier posts today, along with the comment that the clock was running.

How will the cross be conducted? How will the Landis team know that questions and answers are properly translated?

pem said...

Too many places to comment, so I'm adding mine here.

Mr. Hue:

Do you believe it would be appropriate or beneficial for Landis’ lawyers to ask all USADA expert witnesses during cross examination the following 2 questions?

Are you at liberty to challenge or question results you believe may be inaccurate or invalid – do you believe the science is infallible?

Do you have any doubt that Floyd Landis doped?

My thanks to you and TBV for the excellent summaries.

bill hue said...

The Landis camp has at least 1 french speaker handy to help them within their ranks, i think but i'll check it out and post what i find out.

there would be no prohibition against asking the questions you propose and they are interesting ones.suh will do whatever he thinks he needs to. his cross of Brenna came close to those questions and everyone here thought the way he did it was highly effective.

The more i see of this case pem, seriously, i have much doubt that Landis doped.

the process is goofed up to begin with but the way it is playing out also confirms that execution lacks in many respects.

Anonymous said...

Because most, if not all, of USADA's arbitration hearings have been closed, we have no way of knowing if this is the way they usually operate. If so, it doesn't give me much confidence in the competence of the anti-doping agency. But our opinions mean little; the arbitrators have been exposed to USADA many times and they seem to have had no problem getting sanctions against athletes.
I'm not pleased, even if Floyd is found innocent, because we are depending on these guys to police sport. Society -- and the athletes who are compelled to accept USADA/WADA's authority -- deserve better.

D in Delaplane

Anonymous said...


If Floyd didn't dope, he would never won TDF. Look at OP, too many riders (107) were doped with blood transfusion and EPO. When you know of the advantage provided by these PEDs (at least 15% to 25%), we understand it's not possible to win without extra-help. Don't we speak from a peleton at 2 speeds?
Maybe, Floyd could get off on technicality but at the moment the proofs are strong enough to prove that he was implicated in a doping program, Testosterone is only one of the products of the doping program.

Anonymous said...

You3 said...

I would hope that if the 2nd attempt at using a translator fails, the hearing will proceed to witnesses that do not require translation. Sorry USADA, but you don't get to present the witnesses in the order you like if you don't provide adequate translation. Further, it would make sense for the witness to be deposed after the hearing adjourns for the day.

pem said...

Mr. Hue:

Thank-you for answering my question. I also do not believe Landis doped.

My post above was unclear - the second question was for Mr. Suh to ask the witness if the witness has any doubt that Mr. Landis had doped. If some of the USADA experts answer on the witness stand that they have some doubt, it may still help exonerate Landis with the public, even if he loses due to the system.

Anonymous said...

Why would it be in the best interest of the United States doping Association to put together a shoddy case to convict a man who did not dope ? Stubborness ? I can't believe that. If there is really a set up, I don't think it came from the USADA. but someone should weed out the real bad guys and bring them to justice for all of this.

cyntax said...

As someone once said to me about evaluating complicated systems (supply chains to be exact), the system gives you the output it's designed to. In other words, if your product isn't arriving on the dock at the right time, you have to go back and check all your variables to make sure you've got the right values, then you've got to figure out if you have the right steps (too many, too few, etc.).

WADA clearly does not have a good process; in fact, they probably never have. But this is the first time that we've been able to see it. So in repsonse to the poster who said:
"...Why would it be in the best interest of the United States doping Association to put together a shoddy case to convict a man who did not dope ? Stubborness ? I can't believe that. If there is really a set up, I don't think it came from the USADA."
I'd say it came exactly from the USADA and the WADA. They've never had to rise to this level of rigor before. In the past, I imagine that they've caught some of the dopers and some innocents and that the majority of the transgressions go unprosecuted. These guys (WADA/USADA) are so obviously disinterested in due process that it's hard for me to see them as serious about doping in anyway, shape, or form.

And it really seems like a shame that they've designed a system that won't allow us to be confident in either Floyd's guilt or his innocence. They aren't safe-guarding the sport or its participants.

Ken said...

My wife is an interpreter and translator (FYI oral communication is interpreted written communication is translated), and I'm very certain that she will be appalled when she sees the incompetence of the French interpreter. It is wholly unacceptable not to have a truly neutral interpreter who was both a qualified courtroom interpreter AND familiar with the topic at hand.

Any professional interpreter should know to interpret in the first person, this is the most basic thing when interpreting. Having to ask the interpreter to speak in the first person should have been a red flag right then and there. Mixing up 1 1/2 days with 1 1/2 hours was only confirmation of the interpreter's incompetence.

The USADA should have been rebuked for their failure to provide a competent interpreter and required to continue with their other witnesses while a competent interpreter could be secured that all parties agreed to. This is just another outrage perpetrated by the USADA.

Nancy Toby said...

I say this is a good reason to take that darned bike race right out of France.

bill hue said...

I think the Landis camp would like to see someone from the WADA side break the "omerta" they have going. If they do, this case will turn in solidly in Landis' favor.

Anon 2:30
I can't argue with what you say broadly about cheating in the peloton but i can tell you i'm here watching this thing and it isn't a very convincing case so far. Much to go and be seen yet, here, though.