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Cyclist Armstrong Wants U.S. to Unseal Filing in Leaks Case

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Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lance Armstrong, the record seven-time winner of the Tour de France, is seeking to force the U.S. to make public its filing in a case over alleged leaks to the media involving an investigation of doping in cycling.

A lawyer for Armstrong said in a filing yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles that the U.S. misstates the law in arguing that it doesn’t have to file a public, redacted version of its opposition to Armstrong’s request for a hearing on the alleged leaks because of the need to protect a continuing grand jury investigation.

“Arguments and analysis about whether or not to even conduct such a hearing must be hashed out in the open,” Armstrong’s lawyer, Elliot Peters, said in yesterday’s filing.

Armstrong last month asked for a hearing alleging that one or more people “from the investigation’s inner circle” repeatedly leaked information to the media, going back to May of 2010, about the grand jury investigation in Los Angeles related to Armstrong.

The leaks have included the strategy and the direction of the investigation as well as possible charges, according to the July 13 request. Armstrong wants a judge to stop the illegal leaks and to punish those responsible, according to the request.

Under Seal

Federal prosecutors filed their response under seal on Aug. 22, according to a filing the following day by Armstrong’s lawyer, asking for the court to order that the government file a public, redacted response. On Aug. 24, prosecutors filed their opposition to this request again under seal, according to yesterday’s filing by Armstrong’s lawyer.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, declined to comment on yesterday’s filing. Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for Armstrong, declined to comment beyond what was in yesterday’s filing.

In the July 13 request, Armstrong’s lawyer said the pattern of leaks was “eerily reminiscent” of the government investigation of performance-enhancement drugs in Major League Baseball. Both investigations were conducted by the same lead investigator, agent Jeff Novitzky, and the leaks were made to some of the same reporters in both investigations, according to the July 13 request.

Armstrong, 39, won the Tour de France, the sport’s most prestigious event, each year from 1999 to 2005 after surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. The Texas-native has never failed a doping test and has denied using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

The case is In re grand jury leaks, 11-00174, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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