Lance Armstrong Target of Federal Criminal Probe, Says Network

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 06:01 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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In an attempt to salvage his image and placate the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Lance Armstrong came clean about his doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, but that apparently hasn't helped him with federal investigators who still must determine if he should be prosecuted.

The disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion, now banned from cycling for life, faces obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and intimidation charges, according to an anonymous source who spoke with ABC News.

"Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering, and intimidation," the source said.

The U.S. Attorney for Southern California, Andre Birotte, abandoned a criminal inquiry involving Armstrong after spending two years investigating him, reportedly for drug distribution, fraud, and conspiracy. Although the prosecutor abruptly dropped the case, the anonymous ABC source indicated a separate government agency is handling the inquiry instead.

Investigators told ABC News they aren't concerned with his admitted drug use, but rather with how he interacted with those who posed a threat to his racing career. They say it's possible Armstrong coerced teammates and competitors into silence.

One of Armstrong's former teammates and friends, Tyler Hamilton, has said Armstrong verbally attacked and even threatened him for trying to expose the truth.

In a 1,000-page damning report, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said the former star athlete organized a complex ring of cheating and doping that lasted for years, and that testimony from former teammates led the agency to ban him for life from competing and to rescind his titles.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it would consider his return only if he gave "a full confession under oath." Tuesday was the deadline for the cyclist to come forward under oath. He didn't.

Armstrong has lost all of his endorsements and was forced to sever his connection to Livestrong, the cancer research foundation he founded in 1997.

He is being sued over his autobiography being non-fiction. He also faces a lawsuit from former teammate Floyd Landis who was stripped of his 2006 Tour De France title for doping and claims that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

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