Justice Served...on a Platter

Sun, 02/05/2012 - 2:02pm by Andy Shen

For the last few months we kept hearing rumors about the Armstrong investigation – the case was strong, indictments would be sweeping, doping was the least of his crimes. But then, at 5pm Friday before Superbowl weekend, André Birotte, US Attorney for the Central District of California, released a terse statement closing the investigation without further comment. As the media scrambled back from their weekend plans to write a story they never expected to write, we’re left to wonder why the investigation was scrapped, and why the announcement was timed to ensure it would get the least amount of coverage possible.

Some speculated that the government’s case simply wasn’t strong enough, especially coming on the heels of the Bonds and Clemens cases. But then Charles Pelkey reported that Novitzky and other investigators only learned of the decision 30 minutes before it was announced. We’ve also heard rumors that witnesses were scheduled to appear before the grand jury next week. If the investigative team was so blindsided by the decision, it’s doubtful that Birotte made his decision based on the merits of the case.

So what does that leave us? Did Armstrong’s hiring of Mark Fabiani finally pay off? The anonymous provacateur @theraceradio tweeted, “Those (who) wonder why Fabiani and his business partner Chris Lehane were hired now you know. In the White House Lehane worked daily with Clinton's Lawyer Lanny Breuer....who is now head of the Fed's Criminal division.” Or maybe the truth is less insidious. Maybe Birotte just didn’t have the stomach to take on a popular sporting hero in an election year.

Tinfoil hat wearers will also note that Armstrong met with Barbara Boxer earlier this year. Coincidentally, Boxer had championed Birotte’s appointment this year. And earlier in the week Livestrong donated $100,000 to Boxer’s pet charity Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, Armstrong released a brief statement but remained strangely quiet on Twitter, which is odd considering that earlier on Friday he saw fit to taunt former Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts on his @juanpelota account. If he gloated about Roberts’ departure from SI, how could he not crow about the dismissal of a case that threatened his very freedom?

Could it be that he realizes he isn’t in the clear yet? First of all, the Italians have been cooperating with Novitzky. They’ve been waiting for him to proceed while they held off on prosecuting Michele Ferrari. With the Armstrong case closed, they might now move on Ferrari. Revelations from that case could prove very damaging to Armstrong’s reputation. And of course, USADA has pledged to continue its investigation as well.

Secondly, and this is the big one, Birotte’s decision may be reversed. If he made his decision for purely political reasons, he’s surely facing a department wide revolt right now. And if he was worried about prosecuting a popular sporting figure, he probably wouldn’t want to be perceived as showing favoritism towards the rich and powerful either.

And this is where you come in.

This is Birotte’s email address: andre.birotte@usdoj.gov. Send him an email if you think criminals shouldn’t escape prosecution if they’re wealthy and connected. Let him know that the government shouldn’t encourage whistleblowers like Landis and Hamilton to speak up against an immensely powerful figure, only to pull the rug out from under them. Tell him he shouldn’t unilaterally negate two years of Novitzky’s hard work. Get the word out on Twitter, Facebook, smoke signals, whatever. Feel free to post all of this on your site or blog. If this investigation was quashed for political reasons, it is our job as fans of our sport to make our voices heard.


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By: Post
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:12pm

You contradict yourself,they were not willing if the reason rhey doped was to try ans compete with dopers like lance.

By: Post
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:06pm

Ashley,how old were you when lance was bonking you. Maybe it was saddle sores from riding the old ashley seat.

Bromance and idolatry
By: Reid Rothschild
Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:48pm

Hello fellas,


Read the comments from Jonestown, I mean Armstrong's facebook page, and you'll get a glimpse of what the Federal Government was up against.

The pod people have taken over. Birotte is probably a cultist too!

Andy, would you like a nice tall glass of Kool Aid? Join in the insanity!



Justice Served?
By: Lilian Clearcoat
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 8:14pm

I think you just try to instigate trouble for the sake of doing it - mean spirited?!

Interesting comments from
By: Victor Plug
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 7:03pm

Interesting comments from Curt Shilling on cheats:


Why would we not cry foul
By: Ari Schtottle
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 6:12pm

Why would we not cry foul when rules are broken and not enforced? Wouldn't that be a pretty good time to cry foul?

My soul got beared one time.
By: Tim Treadwell
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 5:40pm

My soul got beared one time. That hurt like a mother.

Much ado about nothing ..
By: C O'Hare-NYC
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 4:56pm

the long and the short of this is that LA did not get caught while he was a pro ... he was accused of paying people off for the alleged Swiss issue but no one has ever steppes forward. This has been a witch hunt for quite some time now and to think you have two former pros, Landis and Hamilton, who, after many, many years of lying, have decided to bear their souls is simply unpalatable. That whole period of the 80s/90s was wrought with doping and only with the advent of credible tests for such things as EPO and the like can things change. these guys want to win and some will push that as far as they can even by bending and breaking rules. But rules need to be enforced and if they are not, then don't cry foul. Imagine if this level of testing was done in the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, etc? Would we be calling all of those would-be rule benders/breakers criminals? I think not.

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 3:07am


I wish Andy would go after real criminals...
just saying...

more dope
By: Torque
Thu, 02/09/2012 - 7:29pm

Like the SNL parody of an "All Drug Olympics" I say make a certain amount of drugs mandatory so I can watch someone literally ride their legs off! Since, as some commenters imply, the law doesn't matter, then its logical.

By: Gunther Rimlichen
Thu, 02/09/2012 - 3:29am

What planet are you on, Serge? As long as the fire burns to make bitches out of the losers who post on this site, racing is never dead.... See you in March, ho's

Doping is not illegal. This
By: Gabriel Rubber Hood
Thu, 02/09/2012 - 1:37am

Doping is not illegal. This was about drug trafficking, conspiracy, and defrauding the US Government. Sure, politics are CLEARLY more important...

Case closed...

R.I.P. Cycling
By: Serge.Geneva
Thu, 02/09/2012 - 12:33am

R.I.P. Cycling

overwhelming evidence
By: Martin Liner
Wed, 02/08/2012 - 2:10pm

Where is wikileaks when you need them?

Good call
By: Falentin Vlange
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 6:49pm

Politics are (and should be) more important than what bike racers ingest and inject. It would suck to see someone voted out of office over something as trivial as Armstrong's doping. The ball is back in USADA's court, where it should be.

By: Axel Internal Routing
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 3:18pm


“I talked to someone within the investigation but the reason why the case was shut down was due to a one man decision. The evidence against those involved was absolutely overwhelming. They were going to be charged with a slew of crimes but for reasons unexplained he closed the case saying it wasn't open for discussion,” the source said.

Lisp Banned
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 12:32pm

He good burro eyyu si papi... He signature my tramp stamp eyyu si!!!

Love the AO herpes comment!
By: Justice
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 3:44am

Love the Ashley Olsen herpes comment . . . maybe that wasn't a saddle sore that Lance got busted using cortisone for . . . .opps . . . .shoulda wrapped that warrior before going into battle . . .

re contador "2 year ban"
By: Rim Job
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 3:05am

if a 2 year ban is really 6 months, does that mean lisban will be back for the spring series?

By: Simone Crank
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 2:44am

I didn't even see 8:11. Glad someone has taken up the mantle in my absence.

You're never getting your
By: Simone Crank
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 2:41am

You're never getting your white whale, Ahab.

bad ass bike racer
By: Ferre Bushing
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 2:19am

bad ass bike racer

Sounds like Lance dug deep in
By: Tom Brakepad
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 1:16am

Sounds like Lance dug deep in the suitcase of courage to break away from the snarling teeth of Novitsky.

he sux LAs cox as well
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 1:00am

deary deary me Paul...

Fux them Phil, Paul, GW...all them on juice!

Tue, 02/07/2012 - 12:49am


shut them down...

Drugs, schmugs....if i were
By: Ashley Olsen
Tue, 02/07/2012 - 12:31am

Drugs, schmugs....if i were Lance i'd be more concerned about the herpes I gave him several years ago.

funniest read of the day, from Phil Liggett
By: Phil's comment
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 11:56pm

“He told me in a private situation, when I wasn’t working as a journalist. I was sat in the bedroom some years ago, and I asked him point blank, ‘look Lance, the way I talked you up on television, I would have to back off and resign if you one day went positive’. And he looked at me and he said ‘man I’ve seen death in the face and I don’t take drugs.’ And that’s all he said. I have no reason to disbelieve him.”

“But I’ve been with him on his private jet when he’s been reading stuff on Cyclingnews and he’s gone, ‘god damn it look at what they’re saying about me again’ and he just passes his computer over to his friends.”

This does give me hope that Phil will resign.

what about the animals?
By: Sarah McLaughlin
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 11:02pm

Millions spent on Armstrong, but what about the poor dogs treated like fashion accessories? Where is the humanity? Dabbah doobah day!

By: Victor Polished
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 10:18pm

I didn't realize that this was the CN forums.

By: Rim Job
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 9:53pm

screw the juniors, i'd rather see the millions go to prosecuting armstrong

Doesn't mean he didn't dope
By: Paolo Downtube
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 8:31pm

Doesn't mean he didn't dope.

From the Times:

Although Armstrong no longer faces the prospect of criminal prosecution, Travis T. Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said that his organization would continue to investigate him.

“Unlike the U.S. Attorney, Usada’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws,” Tygart said in a statement. “Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.”

And this is where you come in
By: Ahab
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 8:11pm

"Towards thee I roll, thou all- destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee"

I just did a cashout refi and
By: 0.5% 'er
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 6:39pm

I just did a cashout refi and bought 2 Specialized Mclaren Venges, full Di2 and Lightweight gen3 carbon wheels. One for my Tribeca loft, the other for the Aspen condo. Next month I'll default on the mortgage and stiff the bank, who'll ultimately get bailed out by the taxpayer/gub'mint. I win! Thanks Obama!

fragmented files
By: Tom Biopace
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 6:12pm

netted "millions of dollars"...

The mortgage crises netted the market billions of dollars and ruined many lives in the process - lives of people that were just trying to live the "American Dream". The LA saga, netted him millions, Trek, etc but it did not ruin anyone's lives that one can directly point to (Floyd and Tyler ruined their own lives). Also, those in the cycling world who were "forced" to dope or not race in that world, were for the most part all 100% willing adults that made their own beds. Going back in time, I am willing to bet 99% of the pros in the US and European peloton would have doped to the gills to have a chance to ride for LA in the Tour... These guys knew what they were doing and they profited from it as well.

Finally, I find it entertaining that to most hard core cyclists, it seems as if you are required to hate Lance because we are niche sport and you cant love a mainstream character. The problem I see in all of this is mainly, as much as Lance is a villain, there are no real likable heros in the sport to point to.

By: Aaron Brakepad
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 6:03pm


don'tbuyanything "pro"...

It's a Blog?
By: dip stick
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 5:47pm

This is a website, not the NY Times. Andy is free to voice his opinion on the matter and make suggestions. Go Andy!

Seppe Rear Entry
By: fragmented files
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 5:15pm

Last time I checked, the Armstrong myth netted untold millions. That's a *great* scam for the small team of criminals at Tailwind/USAC. Yes, Tailwind principals own/run USA Cycling.

Wall Street is envious of generating those kinds of returns using such a small team of hustlers.

By: The honorable voice
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 4:01pm

Lance off the hook, Contador GUILTY of cheating/doping. There is justice in the World . . . !!!!!

Come on, Andy...
By: Jesus from Cancun
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:15pm

What is this about, Andy? It is perfectly right for you to report your findings and even voice your opinion. You just wrote one of the best articles I have read in a while.

But what is it about the last paragraph? It seems like you are losing your professionalism and are trying to gather warriors for your personal fight.
I am glad to see that you have the sources to have an educated opinion. I just think that you went a little too far this time asking people to do what you think they should do.

The Feds and Lance
By: Rinieri Supple
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:11pm

Andy you make it sound like Lance had the upper hand on the Feds, who with their unlimited budget, powers and two years of work, folded. If you think winning the Tour was tough. Give it a rest. Let’s move on and the ones who believe LA cheated will believe that, and the ones like me, who enjoyed the heck out of his cycling will remmber that.

glad it's done. novitzky is
By: Farinata Brakepad
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:00pm

glad it's done. novitzky is perhaps more loathsome as armstrong

Budget for USADA investigation??
By: Tom Biopace
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 2:46pm

Would you rather see the likely millions the USADA will spend taking down a retired racer go towards youth development and domestic racing development. Spending money on the past is always a guaranteed fail.

the 2 year ban ends august
By: Rim Job
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 1:58pm

the 2 year ban ends august 5th of this year? there's some tough sanctions.

As I said,
By: Seppe Rear Entry
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:53pm


This sport is a joke... Will the winners (Schleck and Scarponi), receive the prize money, lost endorsements, and likely contract bonuses for winning the Tour and Giro. Basically, if you are a star in this sport, and you cheat, the process is so backwards that you can keep all you money, and continue to race and by the time the decision is rendered, your ban is over... Time to legalize the dope or admit that cycling is no better than the WWE.

To Oh Really...
By: Seppe Rear Entry
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 12:48pm

If you think what LA and company did was on the same scale as the mortgage crises of 200-2008 you are not only misinformed but also borderline delusional. LA is a cheat, and from what I have read and heard, pretty much the stereotypical type A unlikable star athlete. With all of this said, his wrongdoing (not crimes), had an affect on a group of people who participate in a sport that is not only niche to the rest of the world, but also a farce (during that period) to those that are in the know. To compare this to the mass corruption and greed that took place in the housing market is laughable. Finally, I hope the investigation ends now (money could be put towards more positive endeavors) and we all just put the LA saga behind us. Even if all his cheating is uncovered, the LA fans will remain loyal because they see him as more than a bike racer - he is a human that beat cancer and then gave back millions to people in similar situations. Now unless you can prove the guy did not have cancer, I dont think anything will change when it comes to the loyal fan base that is Lance Armstrong.

Andre Birotte
By: Reid Rothschild
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 6:46am

Dear Andy,

Seems our boy Andre was working as a personal trainer where he made $2,200. http://trainwesthollywood.com/trainers/andre-birotte-jr/ at the same time he was working as inspector general. http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/01/15/meet-andre-birotte-jr/ Good possibility the guy is jacked himself.

Dirk also informed me that Andre worked in a Gay themed triple header back in 2009, slated for release this year..Evidently there were delays in production. You might want to see if he claimed income from that. (Partial Parody)

My condolences,


By: fillet_brazed
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:29am

Keep the myth alive at any cost. Yes, sweep it away.

All those rules aren't important. Yeah, systematized acquisition, possession and distribution of controlled substances isn't important.

Fraud isn't either.

Filling other humans with drugs isn't a big deal either.

Move along people! More crimes to commit!

By: Rayan Bearing
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:18am

Can we move on, please?

What conspiracy
By: fillet_brazed
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 3:11am

What conspiracy theories?

-Carmichael and Wenzel doped the kids on USAC's National team. Armstrong was one of them. Greg Strock and others: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/04/10/60II/main284958.shtml
-USPS was a team-wide doping program. Dope or leave. Documented many times over.
-Wins collected under contracts with specific anti-doping clauses is not fraud?

But you know, all those pesky facts getting in the way of the myth is so much trouble...

By: Gulf Shores Reader
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 2:59am

nah, just twit/blog spin and let's not forget cARtoOn fodder. Gotta milk those conspiracy theories baby. Ain't the net grand.

Oh Really?
By: fillet_brazed
Mon, 02/06/2012 - 2:51am

Seppe Rear Entry and others.

Running a team-wide international illegal drug program is all good? Hemasist for everyone! Experimenting with drugs on humans is cool too?

You know since this epic fraud is so expensive, let's just let the banks go on robo-signing, widescale securities fraud too. I mean it's all so expensive!

And you know none of it will happen again. Until it does. And then it's good? When another Carmichael dopes kids again it's all cool. Open season on doping kids again?

Defrauding others is cool too. I mean, contracts aren't that important to a society. Neither is the rule of law.

Good job doing nothing. It's the best thing. Rules are over rated.

Over it. He was an
By: Hugo Gel
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 11:21pm

Over it.
He was an inspiration that some times looked cross eyed.
However as Floyd said "he is a bad ass bike racer".

I am sure after his weird ass relationship with his first wife he has some how figured out how to minipulate his second wife.
After all Kristen has been silenced to the welfare of her children.

We all know he is back to normal.
No drugs.

I really feel sorry for his current wife and children.
And the story goes "daddy was a millionaire prior to doping"

And as Floyd said "he was a bad ass bike racer"

i cannot believe it
By: Gherardo Chainsuck
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 10:23pm

before this withdrawal ,sites like this were inundated with people baying for the blood of mr pelota ;

now all I see are me too-ers glorying in his vindication-

talk about the french being 2 faced & expedient!

thank goodness that NY velocity & this column has the integrity to stick to its guns in supporting the bleeding obvious fact that he doped

goodnight america

You guys are just jealous
By: Lance Armstrong
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 10:18pm

You guys are just jealous that I get all the A-Grade blow and those crazy hookers that will make me wear a diaper and tell me I am a bad boy

By: Cece Hammer
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 10:15pm

spread the hate as you watch the super bowl. imagine a clean NFL. that would kind of suck

thanks for the email address
By: Alexis Bushing
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 9:01pm

Just sent André an email thanking him for ending the investigation. Never would have thought of that until you pointed out the obvious, good job, I hope others will follow.

thanks for the email address
By: Alexis Bushing
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 8:56pm

I just sent André an email thanking him for closing the case, Thanks man never would have had the idea until you pointed out the obvious

Armstrong and Free - of taxpayers expense
By: Domenico Axle
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 7:45pm

Why the hell should taxpayers being paying for a zealous egotistical investigator regarding an athlete of a sport that has no control or auspices under the federal or state gov't such as football and baseball. The charges brought by the US Attorney's office in SFO were so trumped up and out of any realm of applicable legal reality in this particular case other than justify the global inquiry by the FDA. Shouldn't the FDA investigate the soda beverage and tobacco industries regarding their toxic products that are brought to the American market?

If USADA and WADA want to pursue this tail wagging the dog investigation (along with perhaps the ASPCA) have at it, but not at the expense of the stretch resources of the US gov't which is so depleted thanks to the malfeasance and mismanagement of the Bush Administration - don't get me started...

The truth will surface (read leaked) if it has not done so already, so let's get off the high horse and get on the bikes and enjoy another exciting season of riding and racing. Let the proper NGBs and the WADA authorities investigate all they want as long as it is not at the expense of the American taxpayers.

I understand your point of
By: Morelli Tubie
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 7:08pm

I understand your point of view and I respect your opinion. In many ways you are correct. This site has devoted much time to the L.A. situation. It has gotten long in the tooth. Everybody who finished anywhere near Armstrong on the podium doped. There are more constructive ways for the government to spend money. But it is time for Lance to get his comeuppance. Perhaps I would feel differently if he weren't such a dickster...but he is. The matador eventually gets gored if he stays in the ring too long.

By: West Coast Reader
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 6:41pm

Yea, there was no info on what and why just a no more case...

Sounds like all good assumptions by Andy but then again they're assumptions. We need some answers...

and the crusade
By: Seppe Rear Entry
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 6:29pm

continues on..

This site is becoming pretty laughable in its evangelical pursuit of the "truth". Does putting LA in jail make this country a better and safer place?

God bless 'merica.
By: Siebe Grips
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 3:31pm

God bless 'merica.

Other possibilities
By: Lilian Seattube
Sun, 02/05/2012 - 2:35pm

I discussed this with a lawyer friend at a party last night. His take is that if the USADA sanctions LA, then LA & Co are in a situation of having to prove their innocence, rather than USDoJ having to prove their guilt. His speculation is that they'll let the USADA take their shot, and then, once the nasty stuff is out in public, take another shot at drug trafficking charges, if needed. Make them operate from a defensive position, having to prove that the documents are false, that the others are lying. At least, he said, that's what he'd do.

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