Federal investigators are investigating disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation, related to his previous criminal investigation, ABC News reported Tuesday.
ABC’s Neal Karlinsky reported that a high-level source said that the investigation is being run out of another office than that of U.S. Attorney for Southern California Andre Birotte, the man who suddenly dropped the previous Department of Justice investigation into Armstrong on the Friday before the Super Bowl last year.
Birotte’s office spent nearly two years investigating Armstrong for crimes reportedly including drug distribution, fraud and conspiracy. After he dropped the case without explanation, sources said that agents had recommended an indictment and did not know why the case was suddenly dropped.
Coincidentally, Birotte broke his yearlong silence regarding the controversial case for the first time publicly on Tuesday during a Department of Justice news conference on another matter.
“Obviously we’ve been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong and other media reports,” Birotte said. “That has not changed my view at this time. Obviously, we’ll consider, we’ll continue to look at the situation, but that hasn’t changed our view as I stand here today.”
The source, who spoke to ABC on the condition of anonymity, said that Birotte is not in the loop on the current criminal inquiry, which is being run out of another office, saying “Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole,” adding, “agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.”
According to the ABC report, federal investigators are not concerned Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs, but rather his allegedly threatening and interfering with potential witnesses.
Armstrong is currently banned for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which issued a February 6 deadline for him to tell all, under oath, or lose any possibility of a lesser sentence.