Thursday, May 10, 2007

Landis Pre-Hearing Press Conf ends up about Lance

TBV listened to today's pre-hearing press conference with Floyd Landis, Arnie Baker, M.D. ,and Michael Henson Executive Director, Floyd Fairness Fund, and listened again to a replay. We expect to get the statement text later today.

The news that has gotten the biggest reaction was a statement that days after the positive was leaked to L'Equipe, A DEAL TO TURN ON LANCE ARMSTRONG was offered by Travis Tygart to Howard Jacobs.

Landis was told that he would get the shortest suspension in the history of cycling if he gave them evidence or had personal information leading to the "prosecution" of Lance Armstrong. Landis found the offer wrong and offensive.

The assembled press returned to this several times, somewhat to Landis's surprise. He said he's mentioned this in passing before, but not made a big point of it. He said he'd have preferred the questions were more about the science of his own case.

Later, Armstrong had his own press conference to blast USADA, covered in the roundup.

The rest of the conference was an overview of case history, arguments, recent events and expectations for the arbitration hearing to take place May 14-23, hitting all the major points about bad science, prosecutorial ethics, and the unfair system.

Michael Henson read the position paper issued by the FFF last week. He also gave a generalized overview of the case to date, claiming proof Landis won clean, and he's being tried with pseud0-science that will be disproven. They support the mission of the anti-doping movement, but feel the mission is being compromised by their improper actions and attitudes.

Landis has not received data claimed to be important that has been ordered by the panel. The expect USADA to spring evidence during the hearing for "trial by surprise." Landis says USADA has destroyed evidence, both data and the samples through retesting.

There was also a statement that on Jan 3, USADA tried to interfere with Landis's attorneys ability to talk to witnesses. The details of this were unclear.

Following Henson, Floyd Landis read a prepared statement about his commitment to the case, the amount of money he has spent, and the strain on his family. He said the most troubling aspect is the year it has stolen from his life. He hopes to receive a fair hearing, and that the arbitrators actions will stand up to the scrutiny of their fellows in the legal and arbitration professions. Since he is still waiting for discovery documents, and what he sees as the unethical behavior thus far of WADA/USADA, all he can do is hope.

He thinks if the Panels really listens to the of the case, he's confident. He doesn't intend to bring up non-science things, like the Armstrong deal, or various public statements, however irksome. He wants it to be about the science, anything else will confuse the real issues in the case.

Landis said he's hoping to be first athlete to get the burden clearly shifted to WADA and the Lab, to make them explain the results rather than the athlete.

The TV/streaming coverage of next week's hearings is still being worked out, an announcement will be made in the next couple of days. A pool will be available; credentialing will be available through the USOC.

Within the next couple of days, Henson said they will petition the IOC to censure Dick Pound for statements made about Floyd Landis. Particularly at issue is the "violating virgin" statement. This is similar to the complaints filed against Mr. Pound some years ago by Lance Armstrong.

They have not made a request to replace any of the arbitrators, and gave no indication they intend to do so.

A reported asked if he has been preparing for giving testimony? Landis answered that along with reviewing the evidence and lining up other witnesses, that is part of the process. It didn't seem clear that he was planning on testifying.

What is the nature of the items not provided? Baker said it was basic information about what sounded like chromatography, and something about the electronic data files that needs to be reprocessed and validated(?). The audio was unclear, so we're not sure.

Will lack of production stop you from completing the hearing? Henson said they had asked for a continuance, and were denied, so they don't expect to get one should they ask again, so they do not intend to ask. They are gearing up to go with what they have so far. The reported asked if the felt they were being told to, "shut up and go to trial," and Henson agreed.

Toward the end, there was more followup about Armstrong. A reporter asked about the Vaughters/Andreu Instant message, and whether that was what prompted USADA to make the offer of a deal. Landis said first, he didn't know if the IM existed, but that the reported contents were not true in any event. He said he doesn't have any idea if that was what prompted the offer.

He was asked about Basso. He made a point that Basso is involved in a a completely separate situation and investigation. Landis said Basso appears to have admitted it, and Landis hopes he feels better about it, and appreciate his honesty.

Landis leaving the Press conference on May 10.


swimyouidiot said...

I don't really know what to make of the "rat on Lance" offer. It sounds like it was made a long time ago, before USADA would have even known how strong or weak their case was. So I don't know that it says much about the case against Floyd.

But what I do know is that it was a great use of the media. Mentioning the big dog was a brilliant way to get the media to pay attention again without having to go strongly negative. Smart move today.