Saturday, May 19, 2007

Landis tells his story of the phone call

I lost the thread in the direct of Landis, with too much stuff being like too many FFF meetings I've heard before.

What I heard that was new were his narrative of earlier encounters with Lemond, and his narrative of the Geoghegan call to Lemond.

Landis said they were at dinner at a hotel at a large table, with Geohegan at the other side, and noticed him on the phone while he was on his Blackberry, but not paying attention because Will is always on the phone. He said he didn't hear what Geoghegan was saying, and it was a short call.

He said he was there when Will didn't answer the first return call, but not later, having gotten up. Then he said either he heard the message or that Will said it was Lemond calling back. Thinking he had a problem, he went to his room, and walked to Will's room and heard parts of the second call back.

He said Will was shaken, and asked if they should talk to the lawyers. Landis said no, they're not around, we'll talk when we see them. We have some decisions to make.

There are disputes in the comments below about the above; I'm not sure what was really said, not having a recording. That seems like a mistake on my part in not trying to record somehow.

Then, Landis said he saw Will that evening to help him move out of the hotel, but didn't say anything about any conversation.

There are guesses in the press room they did not talk to the attorneys in the morning. Most observers in the court when it happened seemed to think it caught Jacobs and Suh blind. That's a strong suggestion Landis and Will had let it drop.

If so, what were they thinking? That it wasn't going to come up? Wishful thinking, at best.

It would explain why Landis had his head in his hands when Barnett dropped the bomb, and Suh had The Talk with Geoghegan while Howard tried to go forward with his planned cross of Lemond.

Another possibility is that Landis and Geoghegan did tell the lawyers, and they all convinced themselves it wouldn't come up, and didn't really come up with a good plan to handle it. That could be groupthink in action, and let's hope that isn't true of the science case as well.

Landis has all day tomorrow, and part of Monday morning to think how this is going to stand up to cross-examination, and he needs to be telling the truth, however ugly.

This is still a science case first. While it appears to be a battle of duelling experts there's a possibility of a sudden insight revealed by the defense, the rabbit the supporters have been hoping is in the bottom of the bag after all.

This business of that call really clouds interpretation of the science, and USADA has shown no compunction in throwing stink bombs. It's not going to go away.

This is sad, because it really takes away from the glaring issues that have been shown throughout the hearing about the acumen of the labs and the one-sided rigidity of the adjudication structure.


Ken said...

If Floyd knew that the phone call had taken place before it was disclosed in the courtroom and didn't tell his attorneys, he royally screwed up and worsened an already really bad situation. Had his attorneys known beforehand they could have done damage control BEFORE LeMond testified. One stupid act followed by a second stupid act. Very, very stupid.

Anonymous said...

I watched the streaming of Floyd and that is not what he said, as I heard it.

What I heard Floyd recall was that Will asked if/or/ thought they should go talk to Maurice. Floyd then said he told Will he did not think they were not back to the hotel yet but would talk to them when they got there.

He then recounted speaking with the lawyers about it and having the need to "make some decisions".

That is what I heard from the streaming on the internet.

Anonymous said...


This hearing is looking more and more to me like just the next stage in a process that will end at the CAS.

Given that an appeal to the CAS now looks inevitable regardless of who wins, when might that be? Will Floyd have the resources for that appeal?


Ken said...

As the other news outlets are reporting basically what is reported above, is there anyway to get "official" transcripts of the part of Floyd's testimony about what and when he knew about the phone call? It might not be as important as the science to the case, but it is extremely important to the court of public opinion. It would be far better to go down based on the truth than based on bad information.

Theresa said...

I am totally sucked into this hearing! I don't even know who's in the pink jersey at the Giro! Dear God, please be that Floyd told Suh and Jacobs before LeMond came in. I was watching the feed too, and I didn't actually hear him say that he DID talk to the lawyers. But I do remember what anon 6:19pm is saying.

Anonymous said...

Is it really surprising Landis wasn't forthright with his attorneys?

Julie said...

I heard it as anon 6:19 did also, including the part about waiting for the lawyers to get to the hotel, although the part about if and when they actually talked to the lawyers was not clear. And Floyd was outside the door when Will was talking to Greg when he called back. Will opened the door after that call was over.

Since Floyd (or obviously the lawyers) did not hear what Will said on the initial call, I wonder if Will was completely upfront with them about exactly what he said. Perhaps they did talk to the lawyers before the hearing, but it was the exact content of the call that was a surprise.

Anonymous said...

I think it was all done for effect. Floyd has a book coming out too, you know.

Now, if Lemond ends up on Oprah, or presses forward with charges against Mr. Will, then we know what he was there to do.

Either way, it's "all water under the bridge"...

Has anyone figured out if UCLA uses the "1" metabolite positivity? or do they selectively go back-and-forth beteen their own and WADA pos criteria, depending on the need to convict?

Anonymous said...

Floyd had a chance going into the hearing, now I say he HAD his chance. I am far less inclined to believe anything he has to bring in his defense, as it seems he is not above anything to try to intimidate a prosecuting witness, why then should he have been above anything for the tdf yellow jersey ? GLs confession to FL was during a private phone call almost a year ago, how else would Floyds manager know about it the night before his testimony ? It is very clear that Floyd is pulling out all stops in defense of his case and his willingness there is an indication of his willingness elsewhere. Further, it makes me believe that his friends suicide is a result of Floyds confession to him, and the burden that knowledge caused.

Jim T said...

"Private phone call" indeed. Lemond went to the press immediately afterward, told them about the phone call and intimated that Floyd had asked him for advice. Some private phone call.

Anonymous said...

Is it noteworthy that Landis knew about the call, but did nothing as regards Will G? It looks like it was Suh who fired Will G; either out of anger, or just as a PR move. I'm wondering what Landis'own lawyers are begining to think about Landis' credibility. To you who are there, can you discern any chagnes in how Landis and the defense team are getting along?

Anonymous said...

TBV and Mr. Hue - even though I think Landis doped, I have to certainly agree with other posts that you guys are doing an excellent job. Thanks. I do have a question though; having been there so far, has your pre-hearing opinion that Landis was innocent changed whatsoever? And, any change in your opinion that USADA / WADA are truly evil? I think after the Will G thing, I notice a definite change in public opinion, but would really like to hear from knowledgeable people that are there at the hearing about how things are really going. Thanks again.

Theresa said...

Floyd said he told everyone that night, before LeMond testimony. He said they had to know, because it was probably coming up the next day. Will found out then. I still believe in Floyd. But Will really screwed things up, big time!

Anonymous said...

theresa, did Landis actually say he told his lawyers about the phone call the night before Lemond's testimony? If so, why did Suh seem so surprised by the testimony and why wasnt' Will G fired earlier?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if floyd has ever told his lawyer "the truth"?

Anonymous said...

8:29, I would say that Landis has never told his lawyers that he doped. A lawyer cannot call his client to the stand and have him knowlingly commit perjury. Or, rather, a lawyer can, but it is unethical, and a violation of rules of professional responsibility, and exposes the lawyer to disciplinary action, which I believe could include being disbarred.

bill hue said...

Anon 7:35, i'll be writing my impressions for a post on the plane ride home tomorrow and will publish them sunday night or monday morning.
Bill Hue

Julie said...

Suh didn't fire Will, Will didn't work for Suh. It's curious that this idea (Suh firing Will) has been batting around, I think I even saw it in the NYTimes! Just goes to show where casual observation will get you (not blaming the previous poster here, but the NYTimes, come on!) Suh was merely informing the panel that Will had been fired.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr. Hue can enlighten us more, but I remember reading during the Clinton proceedings that 5th amendment rights against self-encrimination means that you can in fact lie about your guilt and not be guilty of perjury. It is my understanding that it would be pretty commen for a lawyer to want to know if his client did comment the crime his is being tried for: this could have a bearing on trial stategy. This is one of the reasons for attorney-client privilege.

I don't believe Mr. Suh could have fired WG, Suh was not his employer. In any case, they may have been hoping GL would keep quiet about the phone call and felt that if they fired WG, it could raise questions that they obviously would not want to answer. Remember, FL is fighting for his professional life and these proceedings, as revealed by Mssrs Brower and Hue, are vary cut-throat, each side is trying to do as much as they are allowed to get away with to win. Not pretty, but that's how it is.

Also, remember there could be criminal proceedings against WG, and possibly FL too. They are probably being advised by their lawyers about making public statements about this. Who told who what and when may not really come out just yet.

Finally, remember what the issue at hand here is. FL is not "on trial" for stupidity (which he may at times be guilty of, all most of us are), nor for the character of anyone he employs, not for what he posted in DPF or elsewhere. The question is "Is there enough evidence that he doped on S17".

bill hue said...

Perjury is sometimes difficult to prove because the "lie" has to be material to the issue.that was the clinton case. you can't deny under oath that you are not guilty when you are because that would be material.

You can't be made to testify in a criminal case. That is the right to be free from self incrimination,the 5th Amendment.

A lawyer can know his client is guilty and still defend him. But, a lawyer can't know he is guilty and have him testify that he is not. That is suborning perjury and it can get the lawyer disbarred.

The confusion over Suh "firing" Will stems from the fact that Suh stood, announced that "as of this moment" Will's services were terminated and then Will got up and left the hearing room with his wife and hasn't been present since.

One might have thought any firing would have occured upon being informed of the facts and not with a rather dramatic announcement, after a break in the proceedingds, after the testimony. however, such an announcement had an impact and that may be why it was announced that way.

Anonymous said...

Bill Hue may be able to correct on this point. It was important to terminate WG at that point. The Panel cannot enforce witnesses to appear but remaining in the employment or business association of FL and part of the apparent support team may compel FL to permit WG to testify. It was a damage control issue to not allow further negatives being aired through a WG grilling under oath.

Theresa said...

I'm not sure of anything, I heard now. But, I defer to Bill Hue, because he was there, and I didn't even see the feed that day.(LeMond day).
At the end of Floyd's testamony today,he said he had lawyers to talk to, and decisions to make. I can't believe he just went to bed, and left this hanging over his head. It just doesn't make sense. I guess, Will does have a wife, but she wasn't there to stop him either. I believe Floyd when he says, he was busy with his blackberry and didn't realize a call had been made, until Greg called back, and Will let it go to voice mail.

John said...

I'm still trying to sort out all the information here, but it seems that everyone (for better or worse) has inadvertantly been drawn aside into the 'phone call' issue, which, at this point, is bad public relations, but not relevant to the case. The phone call should (and probably will) be handled in another case outside of this. I believe Mr. Landis' handling of the 'call' was about all he COULD do, considering the difficult position it put him in. There's only so much damage control you can do because of an action by another person.

To the scientific side of the case, Caitlin's testimony is hard to parse, because the most punch-packed evidence he presented was that UCLA's standards are not as stringent as the USASA's when it comes to acceptable levels. That is interesting, but I fail to see how that had any bearing on the results of the hearing. Yes, it clouds our perceptions USADA's rules, but it doesn't change data - it just offers another interpretation. It's a confusing strategy by Landis' team - are they refuting the veracity of the data (by questioning the procedures of the lab?) or are they suggesting that the data, as analysed by UCLA, is acceptable? - the two points contradict - What is the point of producing mildly dissenting opinion from UCLA when they've tried to prove initially that the samples, results and process were flawed to begin with? I don't know if you can argue both at the same time in any logical way. I know that Landis' team is trying to pull out all stops and show consistent negligence in the handling and testing, but I think it's weakening the case. They need to focus on ONE hypothesis and try to prove it.

Are there any people writing on the board who have a legal background and might be able to explain this defence?

Anonymous said...

I think the phone call is relevant, because it goes to Landis' credability. He has tried to take the moral high ground pre-hearing. Now it appears he knew about the call, but didn't immediately fire W.G., and didn't even tell his lawyers about it. I suppose his lawyers wanted to get this out on direct rather than cross, but it certainly doesn't make Landis look good. And this is all in addition to what the actual testimony from Lemond was about Landis admitting his use. I also think Landis' version of the call is kind of lame; he says he denied using, but then also something about that if he had doped, what good would it do to confess. Usually, if you're accused of something that you didnt' do, you simply outright deny it; no need to go on about what if's. In all, I don't think Landis' direct was convincing enough to overcome all the previous testimony. I also thought Landis' defense had been saying Catlin's testimony would support them, and it didn't. Catlin said Landis doped. You can try to spin his testimony anyway you want, but that's what Catlin said, and I understand he's a very well respected person.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read Catlin as saying UCLA's standard wasn't as stringent as USADA, it was that he would have declared it inconclusive because the research verifications of positives weren't suppored bya single metabolite of 5alpha at the UCLA lab. Which is to say Catlin bases his positives on science he can prove, USADA has a standard that may not be proved by any existing science. Hence the almost peer reviewed and not quite finished research projects about one metabolite. I wouldn't call that a lesser standard by any stretch of the imagination.

Landis' words were not if he did dope according to Landis, but that he didn't dope, told Lemond that and then said if he didn't dope what good would confessing do. He's said that a number of different ways since the positive test announcement, he didn't dope and can't confess to what he didn't do.

Lemond says Landis said, if I did dope it would hurt too many people.

Its been debated long and hard how to distinguish the usual claims of innocence from the claim of a truly innocent man, the words say the same from both. Its the truthfulness behind the words that the arbitrators are giving the power to decide. As the public, we get to debate it but not decide it. You may believe Lemond's version is the more accurate one, but that doesn't mean that's what Landis testified to saying. He had a different version than Lemond.

Thomas A. Fine said...

The thing I'm wondering about is if his lawyers new about the original phone call and subsequent posting to DPF. It was immediately after that that Floyd stopped posting there for a long time, and I believe that means his lawyers told him to stop posting.

If the lawyers knew, about the call, they probably also knew the details about the contents of the call (the sexual abuse story).

And if the lawyers DID know at that time, they must've made it clear to him how important it was to stay clear of Lemond, and let them know immediately if anything more came up about it.

Many people on DPF also urged him publicly not to use this information, and I'm sure he received some private messages stating the same.

The point is that we all were worried about the wrong person. The lawyers should have asked him who else he trusted with Lemond's secret, and they should have chased down all those people and given them a good talking to. This seems to be where things really broke down.


Anonymous said...

The Daly Peloton lusts after all dopers and apologises for them.

DPF moderators can never decide whether to deny doping or apologize for it.

So they do both. That's why only Lance, Tyler and Floyd appreciate the DPF dishonesty.

If the DPF supports you---you're a drug cheat.

hughw said...

Where, when, from whom did WG get GL's cell phone number? Reasonable guesses: In the ballroom, Wednesday evening, from FL. Yet FL says he didn't know WG phoned GL, until the incoming, unanswered call. Hm.