Confession may lead to legal woes for cyclist Armstrong
TribLIVE Sports Videos
LOS ANGELES — By admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he doped during his cycling career, Lance Armstrong potentially opened himself up to a stream of litigation that could lighten his wallet for years.
And then there's the big question: Will his mea culpa result in the reopening of a criminal investigation by the U.S. government?
Some legal experts believe the disillusionment and anger directed at Armstrong will force the government to re-examine its evidence in light of his admissions. Others say revisiting the case is unlikely.
“There are no formal guidelines on reopening one, and the discretion is left to the prosecutor,” said Matthew Levine, a former federal prosecutor. “But generally there's a lot of pressure not to reopen, especially where the declination has been made public. It does happen, but it's quite rare.”
Last February, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced they were dropping their investigation into Armstrong. A grand jury heard testimony from the cyclist's former teammates and associates that could have helped prove Armstrong and some of his fellow cyclists violated federal conspiracy, fraud or racketeering charges.
No reason was given for the decision. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined comment.
In the portion of his interview with Winfrey that aired Thursday, Armstrong refused to implicate anyone. Winfrey asked him if he felt victorious when the government declined to file charges against him.
“It's hard to define victory,” Armstrong said. “But I thought I was out of the woods.”
Unlike fellow sports superstars such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who faced criminal charges, Armstrong never spoke with federal authorities or testified before Congress, which could have led to obstruction or making false statements charges.
Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, is convinced the criminal case will be reopened.
Because of a fraud, “he became very famous, very rich,” Keane said. “The idea of him getting a pass on it is going to be looked at with a degree of there's a double standard here. It's something (the government) takes very seriously.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Pirates must land Lester
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
- Joe Greene only 2nd player in Steelers history to get number retired
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
- Pirates manage to stumble on the bases in bid for sweep of Giants
- Blairsville bar, adjacent building on fire
- Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Bucar upset with DA Zappala for alert
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- Former Shady Side Academy standout set to take field for Pitt