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Indiana lawyer key player in anti-doping case

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Soon after Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Indianapolis attorney Bill Bock sat in his ninth-floor office overlooking Monument Circle talking about, of all things, the Friday before the 2012 Super Bowl.

But Bock, 50, wasn’t reminiscing about the city’s hosting of one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

Bock Bill Bock helped uncover evidence that wrecked the career of Lance Armstrong, but he says he still feels for the cyclist and his family. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

He was recalling the day when, as lead attorney for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, he embarked on a succession of 100-hour work weeks that led to the International Cycling Union’s Oct. 22 dethroning of Armstrong.

Bock, a partner in the law firm Kroger Gardis & Regas, estimated he’s dedicated 95 percent of the last year to USADA’s case against the famous cancer survivor and world cycling champion.

Though Bock has been working on the case for more than two years, what happened on Feb. 3 threw the USADA and Bock into high gear.

That was the day that, without explanation, Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, dropped the federal inquiry into doping allegations against Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service-sponsored team.

The move seemed to deliver a death blow to the USADA’s investigation.

“We were very surprised on Feb. 3,” said Bock, who was born in Texas and raised the son of a Ball State University professor in Muncie. “Honestly, we were floored.”

Bock still doesn’t understand why federal prosecutors chose not to file charges. He knew well the mounting pile of evidence against Armstrong because he had helped compile a great deal of it.

Instead of grinding USADA’s doping investigation to a halt, Birotte’s pronouncement made USADA CEO Travis Tygart and Bock more determined than ever to find the truth.

That drive is what Bock used to convince 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates on the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams to testify against him. They said in sworn affidavits that Armstrong led a widespread, pervasive doping program for almost a decade.

A USADA report crafted largely by Bock called the scheme “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Bock, a summa cum laude graduate of Oral Roberts University who later earned a law degree from the University of Michigan, teased confessions out of witness after witness who had been silent for years.

The riders found Bock, a father of five, trustworthy and — just as important — empathetic. When Bock visited Frankie Andreu, a former Armstrong teammate, at his home in Michigan last spring, his wife, Betsy, said Bock was kind and comforting during a difficult situation.

“All he ever said was, we only want the truth,” said Betsy, who also testified against Armstrong.

Tygart wouldn’t say how much USADA pays Bock, but said it’s less than 1/10th of what he would make if he were paid by the hour. USADA’s 2010 Form 990 income tax statement showed the Colorado Springs-based organization paid Bock’s Indianapolis law firm $302,257 that year.

Tygart said Bock’s work on behalf of international sports is priceless.

“Bill deserves the MVP for clean sport,” he said.

So how did Bock come to the crossroads that would change the history of cycling?

Born in Orange, Texas, Bock grew up in Muncie loving sports and playing just about every one of them.

At Muncie Northside High School, he won three letters in golf and two in basketball. In college, he took up distance running.

Though Bock professes to have never been “a great athlete, I always thought it was an important way to convey values.”

Those who know Bock said the value he placed on honesty and integrity has never waned.

“Bill is a person of impeccable character,” said Norm Wain, general counsel and chief of business affairs for USA Track & Field. “He’s not one that gets dissuaded by politics. He approaches each issue in the same methodical way.”

Bock and other officials faced plenty of pressure to drop their case, not only from Armstrong and his attorneys and many of his cycling associates, but even from some members of Congress who wondered aloud the point of pursuing someone no longer in the sport.

The reason was simple, Bock said. Not only was Armstrong still involved in triathlons and running, but he also still profited from sponsorships associated with his cycling career. Besides, Bock and Tygart were eager to make the point that no one is above the rules.

“We’ve never dropped a case simply because someone retired,” Bock said. “If we did that, we’d have a lot of retirements.”

Bock, who in 2010 and 2011 assisted federal investigators in a doping investigation of baseball player Barry Bonds and track star Marion Jones, is no stranger to high-profile, pressure-packed cases.

While he’s soft-spoken and quick to smile, Wain said, Bock is no softy.

“I wouldn’t take his relaxed demeanor as not being aggressive at his job,” Wain said. “His job is to chase down cheaters. His job is to look at allegations and vet them all. He takes the integrity of the sport and its athletes very seriously.”

Oddly, Bock started in the 1990s by representing athletes; a bobsledder, along with several in football, track and field, water skiing, wrestling — and, yes, cycling. He even defended some of them in doping cases — in some instances successfully.

He said he always encouraged athletes “to get on the right side of telling the truth.”

As USADA was being formed in 2000, Bock gave a presentation on what the athletes would like to see from the not-for-profit that, in 2001, was recognized by Congress as “the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports in the U.S.”

Over the years, Bock consulted for the organization and, in mid-2007, Tygart asked Bock to come aboard as general counsel. He took the job.

bock_facts.gif“This is a unique area of law,” Tygart said. “It’s not about who wins and who loses. It’s about making sure sport is clean. And protecting the clean athletes that play those sports. You have to care about people. Bill is a natural fit.”

Even those who know Bock only casually say there’s little denying he has a soft spot for the athletes USADA governs — even those that run afoul of the rules.

Bock recounted how one of the first athletes — Floyd Landis — to provide testimony in the Armstrong case sighed with relief when he told his doping story. Bock spoke in halting tones of professional cyclist Dave Zabriskie’s crying when he recounted the doping ring he and Armstrong were involved in.

Bock recalled with fondness the 2009 phone call from Kayle Leogrande, one of the first athletes found guilty of doping by USADA without positive dope-test results. Leogrande fought USADA during a months-long, bitter battle.

“He called to thank me,” Bock said. “He said we did him a big favor by getting everything out in the open.”

As for Armstrong, Bock’s heart goes out to the man whose cycling legacy he has helped wreck.

“In some ways, I feel bad for him. I’m sure this has been a difficult few weeks for him — and his family,” Bock said. “We offered him the chance to come in and get on the right side of this. He declined.”

Though international sports agencies have upheld USADA’s findings, the final curtain has not yet fallen on this astonishing saga.

Armstrong’s team director, Johan Bruyneel, as well as a former team doctor and team trainer, are appealing the rulings in proceedings to be conducted by the American Arbitration Association. Bock — and the evidence he helped amass — will be central to those hearings likely to be held in the next few months.

There’s also a chance Armstrong could sue USADA and/or Bock, but Bock has other things on his mind.

He and Tygart hope the investigation is the beginning of ridding cycling and other sports of doping.

Even if sports become cleaner, Bock wouldn’t encourage his children to pursue careers as professional athletes.

“I don’t think that [professional sports] is necessarily the highest calling,” he said. “It’s easy to get distracted by the glitz and the glamour. … You should be involved in sports because you love competing. And for a love of the game.”•
 

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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