Friday, May 18, 2007

Geoghegan apologises for phone call, now absent from hearing

The now former business manager for Floyd Landis, Will Geoghegan, publicly apologised for his actions through a statement issued by his attorney.

"I apologize to Greg LeMond and his family for the distress I caused by my call," the statement began. "I also apologize to the arbitration panel and to Floyd Landis and his legal team for the distraction. I have been very angry about how unfair this whole proceeding is to Floyd, a great friend and a greater champion, and stupidly tried to take out my anger on Greg."

Geoghegan's statement went on to say that his actions were influenced partly by alcohol consumption. "I acted on my own, impulsively, after a beer or two. I never thought about keeping Greg from testifying. If I had, I would have concluded that since Greg is such a fierce competitor my stunt would likely make him more resolved to testify. What I did was wrong and very unfair to Greg. I am very sorry about and embarrassed by my conduct."

It is not clear if the statement was released as a result of any contact between the lawyers for Geoghegan or LeMond. Calls to Geoghegan were not returned. No ruling had been made by the three-person arbitration panel

At the end of the morning session, one of USADA's lawyers, Mr. Barnett, asked the panel if Mr. Geoghegan would be indeed returning to testify, as he was about to take the stand when Mr. Suh asked for a break so that Mr. Geoghegan could consult legal counsel. Mr. Barnett implied that the absence of Mr. Geoghegan from the proceedings today indicated that the Landis side was "trying to hide Mr. Geoghegan."

The panel responded that they have no authority to compel Mr. Geoghegan to appear and testify, as would be the case in a civil or criminal court. Mr. Suh responded to this, saying, "As the panel well knows, there were issues brought up my Mr. LeMond which made it entirely appropriate for him to have legal counsel. We took a break yesterday so that Mr. Geoghegan could consult legal counsel."

Following this Mr. Barnett seemed resolved to rely on Mr. Geoghegan's public statement in lieu of his testimony.

In a letter to Cyclingnews, Michael Henson, Executive Director of the Floyd Fairness Fund, clarified the position. "In light of the news coverage of yesterday’s testimony at the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing, we are writing to clarify that Will Geoghegan, who served as Floyd’s business manager until being fired yesterday, had no formal role with the FFF."

Henson, and likely the Landis side, believe that this situation will not have any effect on the actual case. "As the focus of the hearings returns to disproving WADA/USADA’s allegations against Floyd, we are confident that the facts and science will continue to bear public proof of his innocence. Your continued support is greatly appreciated."

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