Friday, June 30, 2006
Wife of Armstrong's ex-teammate stands by testimony
NEW YORK -- The wife of Lance Armstrong's
former cycling teammate insisted Friday she told the truth
when she testified under oath that the seven-times Tour de
France winner admitted taking banned drugs.
"My testimony is honest and truthful and accurate and I
stand by it," Betsy Andreu, wife of former U.S. Postal Service
cyclist Frankie Andreu, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
That was the only statement Andreu made for the record,
leaving response to Armstrong's strong denials and challenges regarding
the credibility of her testimony to her lawyer.
"The Armstrong camp is continuing to vilify (my clients), in
the press, through TV, radio, and the Internet," said lawyer
"We're simply trying to clarify the record to uphold the
testimony of Frankie and Betsy Andreu."
The Andreus testified eight months ago under subpoena in a
civil suit brought by Armstrong against SCA Insurance, which
refused to pay a $5 million policy taken out by team owners to
pay a bonus to Armstrong for winning the 2004 Tour de France.
Betsy Andreu testified that when visiting Armstrong in
Indiana University hospital after his cancer surgery in 1996, he
told a doctor he had used EPO (erythropoietin), testosterone,
growth hormones and cortisone.
Armstrong, who retired last July after his record seventh
Tour victory, has always denied taking banned substances and
described allegations in the testimony as reported last week in
French newspaper Le Monde as "stale, unfounded and untrue."
"They are not terribly fond of their credibility being
attacked," Paskoff said about the Andreus.
"They never had a beef with Armstrong. They had no position
in the outcome of his private lawsuits," the lawyer said, adding
that the Andreus initially resisted giving testimony.
"The Andreus were subpoenaed by a Texas arbitraton panel. We
went to the parties and said Texas does not have jurisdiction
upon the Andreus. They will not testify," Paskoff explained,
noting the Andreus lived in Michigan.
"One of the parties took the Texas subpoena and went into a
Michigan court ... that subpoena was legitimate and had binding
power on the Andreus."
The outcome of the civil suit was a victory for Armstrong,
the Texan disclosing last week the company had been ordered to
pay $7.5 million.
The subpoenaed testimony was supposed to be confidential,
said Paskoff, who called the leaks "extremely disturbing."
"That's very upsetting to us," he said. "We tried to follow
the rules and no one else seems to want to do that.
"We're not a party to this arbitration. We had no stake in
it. We couldn't care if Lance Armstrong won or lost or if SCA
won or lost. The Andreus were dragged into this."
Paskoff said Armstrong had attacked the Andreus by saying
those conversations never happened.
"I would question the accuracy of his testimony," Paskoff
said. "That was three days after brain surgery. Presumably he
was under a lot of medications, and he's talking about what
happened for sure, or did not happen in a hospital room?"
Armstrong said in a statement a week ago: "The event
reported in France never happened, and the evidence presented to
the panel proved it never happened."