AUSTIN (AP) – Lance Armstrong is adding two lawyers to his legal team who previously won a major legal victory against federal investigators in a doping case.
John Keker and Elliot Peters of San Francisco represented Major League Baseball players as they won a key appeals court case two years ago in which a panel of federal judges ruled that agents had no right to seize baseball’s anonymous drug-testing results from 2003.
A top investigator in that case, Jeff Novitzky, has been leading a federal probe into whether seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs and led a systematic doping program on his U.S. Postal team.
Last week, “60 Minutes” broadcast a report in which former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton, who has testified before a federal grand jury, said he saw Armstrong use performance-enhancing drugs. The CBS program also reported that George Hincapie, Armstrong’s close friend and former teammate, told federal authorities that he and Armstrong supplied each other with performance-enhancing drugs and discussed them.
Armstrong has always denied doping during his seven consecutive Tour de France victories from 1999-2005.
In the baseball case, the government seized samples and records from baseball’s drug-testing companies in April 2004 as part of the BALCO investigation into Barry Bonds and others. In 2009, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said federal agents trampled on players’ protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Keker on Thursday criticized leaks of testimony to the media in the Armstrong case and called the investigation a waste of money.
“We know Novitzky and plan to prove that these are his repeated, illegal leaks aimed solely at destroying a true hero, not just in sports but in the fight against cancer,” he said. “That the government is spending tax money investigating long ago bike races in Europe is an outrage.”
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