Cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially given up his fight against the longstanding doping charges brought against him by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He claims it's so he can focus on working for Livestrong, the foundation he started for cancer patients. And while Armstrong has not and will not make any admission of guilt, claiming to the end that "I played by the rules," the decision will result in the USADA stripping all of his results since 1998—including his seven Tour de France titles. "I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances…" announced Armstrong in a two-page statement. "We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause."
Armstrong will also be banned for life from competing in any sport or event sanctioned by a sporting body that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency code—including the World Triathlon Corporation, which Lance has signed a $1 million deal to compete for, with the money going to his foundation. However he doesn't accept the USADA's sanctions and threatens a lawsuit if the organization proceeds with them, calling the process "unfair and one-sided" and the claims against him "outlandish and heinous" with "zero physical evidence." US District Judge Sam Sparks rejected Armstrong's suit challenging the USADA's authority last Monday. "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," says USADA CEO Travis Tygart. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition." Despite reportedly completing over 100 doping tests, Armstrong has yet to test positive for any illicit performance-enhancing substance.
- Tobacco Companies Broke Law by Selling Untaxed Cigarettes, Judge Rules [New York Times]
- Denver Bans Outdoor Marijuana Advertisements [ABC]
- Are Athletes Primed for Prescription Drug Addiction? [PsychCentral]
- NC Program Slashes Opioid Overdoses [Medpage Today]
- 'Skateboard Rabbi' Gets Drunk, Takes Shrooms and Goes On The Price is Right [Gawker]
- How Alcohol Causes Cancer—And is Particularly Lethal to Those of Asian Descent [Daily Mail]
- Rodney King on Cocaine, PCP Before Drowning, Coroner Finds [Los Angeles Times]
The new season of Celebrity Rehab will premiere on VH1 on September 16—and hawk-eyed viewers will note a difference between this and previous seasons: no celebrities. "Over the course of the five seasons of Celeb Rehab, we were flooded with calls, emails and letters from viewers asking if we could do a show featuring non-celebs, so that is what we did," host and creator Dr. Drew Pinsky exclusively tells The Fix. "Treating non-celebrities is what I've been doing for the past 30 years in my day-to-day life." About this season's addicts, Pinsky says, "It's the most intense group I've treated, either on TV or off, and this is the most powerful and moving season to date. I hope viewers will tune in and get the message I have so desperately been trying to get across: addiction is a deadly disease but with treatment there is hope." The new season will focus on eight of Pinsky's "most challenging patients to date" and will include his standard Rehab support team: Bob Forrest, Shelly Sprague, Dr. John Sharp and Jennifer Gimenez. A sneak peek of the show is can be viewed on VH1.
A couple of inmates in Indianapolis made the most of their mobile phone plans when they managed to oversee a massive state-wide drug operation from inside their cells, via cellphone. From separate prisons, ringleader Oscar Perez and partner Justin Addler allegedly used mobile phones smuggled in by guards to arrange for the wholesale purchase of heroin from Chicago and meth from California and distribute the drugs all across Indiana. The sly duo were tele-present throughout the schemes, with Addler once reportedly conference calling in to a drug deal where 20 grams of heroin were sold for $2,500 at a truck stop. It took 300 FBI agents fanning out over the entire state to uncover the network of 40 conspirators, about 17 of whom faced trial yesterday. As far as the prison guards who permitted the cellphones to infiltrate the prisons in the first place—only one of whom has been formally charged—the Indiana Department of Correction has issued a statement apologizing for their behavior. "The actions of the small number of any IDOC correctional employees who may have facilitated these illegal activities brings dishonor to them and tarnishes the good name and professionalism of the vast majority of IDOC employees," the statement said.
As The Fix reported yesterday, Courtney Love's failure to show at a libel suit deposition in New York this morning could carry serious consequences—but it may be her latest new lawyer who faces them. Frederic Gordon—the attorney for Rhonda Holmes in her libel suit against Love, which cites the singer's persistent substance abuse—is now accusing Love's attorney, Kenneth Freundlich, of perjury. Gordon tells The Fix he intends to file for sanctions.
The two lawyers dispute the significance of Love's absence this morning. Freundlich says he objected to the deposition and informed Gordon of Love's unavailability in timely fashion. Gordon contends that Freundlich was required by law to send his objection to the deposition six days in advance, and that Freundlich "signed under penalty of perjury" that he mailed it on August 17. But Gordon says he has proof—in the form of an August 20 time-stamped envelope—that this was a falsehood.
"It's another significant example of Courtney thinking she's above the law,” says Gordon, who's in New York today for the deposition. "Despite the rules she says, 'I'm not going to show up.' To me, it's more of the same bullshit.” He plans to file sanctions against Freundlich for perjury next week.
The Fix also spoke with Freundlich this morning. He says he gave proper notice about Love’s unavailability, and attacks Gordon for speaking with us yesterday: “I don’t litigate cases in the press. [Gordon] is using the press, which is disgusting. How did you find out about this [deposition]?" he asks us. "It’s a private matter. Tell him to meet me in court. I’m new counsel and [Courtney Love] wasn’t available.” Freundlich seems set to be a busy man, given Love's stack of unresolved legal cases: “I am representing Courtney in every legal matter now both in California and New York. Rest assured she will be well defended against all accusations.” As the lawyers spar, Courtney Love has meanwhile been tweeting about being on "Shelter Island"—which may refer to her rumored current location with friends in the Hamptons.
Colorado's Amendment 64—a ballot measure to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol—has won new backing from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who have long claimed that pot laws unfairly target the black population. In 2010, African-Americans accounted for about 9% of marijuana possession arrests and 22% of arrests for marijuana sales and cultivation—despite only making up roughly 4% of Colorado's population, according to an NAACP statement. These numbers were particularly disproportionate in Denver, where African-Americans accounted for over 31.5% percent of arrests for marijuana possession, while constituting less than 11% of the city's population. "In ending the prohibition against adult use of marijuana we might affect mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on African-Americans and other people of color," says Rosemary Harris Lytle, president of the NAACP's Amendment 64 Conference. "Marijuana prohibition policy does more harm to our communities than good." Although not in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker is one politician who has echoed these claims about the devastating impact of drug policy on the black community, saying the war on drugs is ineffective and "represents big overgrown government at its worst." Coloradans will vote on Amendment 64 on November 6. They considered but rejected a similar recreational pot legalization initiative in 2006.