On Monday, a federal judge in Texas threw out Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit seeking to halt disciplinary proceedings by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), saying that the courts don’t need to get involved in an intra-sport squabble. It was the second time such a suit on Armstrong’s behalf has been dismissed. (The USADA is seeking a hearing about the cyclist’s suspected-but-never-proven drug use. Armstrong’s camp now has less than a week to file an appeal, challenge the USADA in an international court for sport, or agree to arbitration in the United States.) But they don’t seem too concerned in the statement they sent to BuzzFeed.
Judge (Sam) Sparks’ opinion confirms what we have said all along. Among other things, the Court confirmed that “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.” The Court also expressed serious concerns about USADA’s charges, including the vagueness of its charging letters, its attempt to charge Mr. Armstrong for alleged infractions dating back to before 1996, and USADA’s apparent promises of lesser sanctions to other cyclists in exchange for testimony against Mr. Armstrong.
The Court is concerned that USADA may be motivated by “politics and a
desire for media attention” in bringing these charges, but ultimately concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the case, observing that it ‘should be resolved internally, by the parties most affected,’ including [the International Cycling Union, UCI]. UCI has asserted that it has exclusive authority to decide whether charges should be brought in this case, and has directed USADA not to proceed further.
The statement’s assessment of the judge’s ruling is not inaccurate.
“Among the court’s concerns is the fact that USADA has targeted Armstrong for prosecution many years after the alleged doping violations occurred,” Sparks wrote, adding that the anti-doping body is violating its own statue of limitation standards.
Experts expect the issue to be appealed and argued and re-prosecuted until the Sun expands to engulf the Earth in fire.
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