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Armstrong lawyers charge smear campaign

July 18, 2011 at 9:59 AM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, July 18 (UPI) -- Lance Armstrong's lawyers, fighting back against doping allegations, say there has been an organized smear campaign of grand jury leaks, court papers show.

A motion filed last week in federal court in Los Angeles, where a grand jury is investigating the cycling star, targets government investigator Jeff Novitzky, Politico reported Monday.

The legal team, led by John Keker of San Francisco, said leaks that have prompted many damaging news reports had "the obvious intent of legitimizing the government's investigation of a national hero, best known for his role in the fight against cancer. … These circumstances are crying out for an investigation."

Armstrong's lawyers say "the current pattern of leaks is eerily reminiscent" of events when Novitzky, a Food and Drug Administration agent, investigated baseball, football and track stars for performance-enhancing drugs. Those investigations were criticized by federal courts.

The motion says "the leading government advocate for the Armstrong investigation, Novitzky, was recently connected to an investigation riddled with leaks to the same reporters involved in this case, and has a documented history of overreaching and disregarding individual privacy rights."

Someone "with regular access to grand jury information is routinely flouting the law requiring grand jury secrecy," the lawyers charge, seeking a court inquiry.

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