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Investigators thinking of turning to RICO, a statue for mob prosecutions, in Lance Armstrong case
BY Nathaniel Vinton DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER Sunday, July 25th 2010, 4:00 AM

code of silence. Are we talking about the Mafia here? No, this is the Tour de France - at least according to cyclist Floyd Landis, who has ascribed the conduct above to one of the most beloved sports figures in the world, the cancer-surviving cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has vigorously denied all of Landis' claims. Landis is cooperating with a federal investigation being led by BALCO-busting criminal investigator Jeff Novitzky of the Food and Drug Administration. Evidence is being brought to a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, which has issued several subpoenas. On Friday evening, a lawyer representing Armstrong's former teammate, Tyler Hamilton, disclosed to ESPN.com that Hamilton had received such a subpoena. "He's going to cooperate," Hamilton's attorney, Chris Manderson, told the Daily News. "He would rather have stayed out. If the federal government subpoenas you, you have to cooperate or you go to jail." Armstrong, who completes what he says is his final Tour de France on Sunday, has pointed out some Texas-sized holes in Landis' credibility. Armstrong recently hired criminal defense attorney Bryan D. Daly, a former federal prosecutor who from 198995 worked out of the same U.S. Attorney's office now overseeing the grand jury probe.

Ena/APSeven-time champion Lance Armstrong completes his final Tour de France on Sunday in Paris.

Imagine a group of self-selected men who fraudulently rake in millions of dollars. They bribe officials to suppress evidence of their crimes and use secret bank accounts to evade taxes. Their leader promises to destroy anyone who breaks their
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"Our objective is first to find out what's going on," Daly said in a recent interview with The News. "We're trying to determine what the federal interest is here. Why is the government devoting time and resources to these rumors? We're going to work hard to figure out how that is happening." Cycling has been plagued by doping, but the latest tales to emerge from that sport's underworld take us

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Get Morning Home Delivery of the Daily News for up to 70% off. Call (888) 393-3760 deep into Sopranos territory. Landis' accusations have even led to speculation about the government's turning to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (known as RICO), a unique statute the feds use for crackdowns on the mob. It's all a little outlandish, says Daly, who has experience defending against RICO charges. "It's such a dramatic thing to even talk about," Daly says. "It's a specialized statute to provide the harshest legal remedies they can on highly c riminalized operations like the Mafia, which do serious harm to society. I don't think this is similar. This is cycling." Daly is a partner in the Los Angeles office of the high-powered law firm of Sheppard Mullin. For seven years leading up to 2008, he defended the major law firm Milberg Weiss LLP from federal charges that the firm and its principals took illegal kickbacks. The indictment in that case included RICO charges.

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