US agents investigating Armstrong for obstruction, tampering: ABC News
By Chantal Valery ,AFPWASHINGTON -- U.S. federal agents are investigating disgraced former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation, ABC News reported Wednesday.
February 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Citing an anonymous source, ABC News said the current probe is focused on different charges from those previously investigated in a federal probe that was dropped last year.
U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, who led the prior investigation, said he had no plans to press charges despite Armstrong's recent doping admissions, but he did not definitively rule out such action.
Birotte's investigation was centered on doping, fraud, conspiracy and Armstrong's denials of such crimes when he was the lead rider in the extremely successful government-funded U.S. Postal Service Team.
“Obviously we've been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong and other media reports,” Birotte said, referring to Armstrong's bombshell doping confession to chat show legend Oprah Winfrey last month.
“That has not changed my view at this time. Obviously we'll consider — we'll continue to look at the situation,” Birotte told reporters in Washington.
The ABC News source, quoted on condition of anonymity, said: “Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole. Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.”
It's not, however, being done by FDA agents, who were prime among those who gathered evidence in the prior case against Armstrong.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokeswoman Sarah Clark-Lynn told AFP on Wednesday: “The FDA is not currently investigating on Lance Armstrong.”
For years Armstrong denied doping, but he was banned last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) gathered compelling testimony that he had been the ring-leader of a large-scale and highly organized doping conspiracy.
Former teammate Tyler Hamilton opened the door to possible witness tampering charges against Armstrong in an interview with CBS News broadcast last month as part of a “60 Minutes” story with USADA chief Travis T. Tygart.
Hamilton told CBS that he was confronted by Armstrong in 2011 only three weeks after a prior interview with “60 Minutes” aired, in which Hamilton made revelations about Armstrong.