BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — When the Department of Justice announced last Friday that it was joining the whistleblower suit filed against Lance Armstrong and others, the immediate losers appeared to be Armstrong and his longtime manager, Johan Bruyneel.
They became federal defendants while Thomas Weisel, the wealthy San Franciscan who bankrolled the U.S. Postal Service team, avoided the heavy hammer of the Department of Justice. Others who profited from Armstrong’s successes — now widely seen as ill-gotten — were off the federal books, for now, as well.
Armstrong, though, found himself on the government’s hook for the second time, having already emerged from a previous two-year criminal inquiry unscathed, at least until anti-doping authorities took over. The Belgian Bruyneel now faces a bumpy legal road stateside, in addition to his pending issues with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which he has yet to address.
The feds passed — at least for now — on intervening with respect to Weisel, and some of those tied to Austin-based Capital Sports and Entertainment (CSE), which lists Armstrong, team manager Bruyneel, attorney Bill Stapleton, and longtime Armstrong associate Bart Knaggs among its principals and who Floyd Landis named in his suit. Stapleton and Knaggs were passed over by the feds as well.