Feds ask judge to keep filing secret

Updated: August 24, 2011, 5:51 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to rule that Lance Armstrong's attorneys have no right to see a court filing that offers "extensive details" about a grand jury investigation into allegations the cyclist used performance-enhancing drugs.

Wednesday's filing asks U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to keep a government filing sealed and to not order prosecutors to file a redacted copy because it would allow Armstrong's attorneys to speculate on the grand jury's work.

Armstrong's attorneys filed a motion in July, claiming leaks in the grand jury inquiry have sullied the reputation of the seven-time Tour de France winner. The initial filing, which was left unsealed, claimed some of the material reported by The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and others could have only come from government officials forbidden under law from discussing the proceedings.

Prosecutors responded to the allegations on Monday, but did not provide a copy to Armstrong's attorneys and asked a judge to keep it sealed in order to avoid violating rules requiring secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

Armstrong's attorneys on Tuesday asked to unseal the motion, stating that it puts them at a disadvantage in their quest to learn more about the leaks, and possibly seek punishment of any officials who have leaked information to reporters.

The brief filed Wednesday states that Armstrong's attorneys would gain access to information that they have no right to see at this point if the motion is unsealed or redacted. The motion "describes an ongoing, active, pre-indictment investigation for which secrecy is necessary to preserve its quality and integrity."

For more than a year, a grand jury in Los Angeles has been investigating claims that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his run of Tour de France victories, but no charges have been filed.

Prosecutors have not publicly detailed their case against the cyclist and advocate for cancer patients, but several of his teammates and associates have been called before the grand jury.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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