If an Italian magistrate has his way, Michele Ferrari will be slapped with a 14-month prison sentenc
The prosecuting magistrate in the trial of Michele Ferrari today requested that the controversial coach be condemned to a prison sentence of 14 months for doping offences. In what should be the final instalment of the protracted trial in Bologna, magistrate Lorenzo Gestri held forth for some three-and-a-half-hours to sum up the evidence against Ferrari. He concluded by recommending 14 months’ imprisonment, a one-year suspension from the medical profession and a 900-euro fine. Gestri advised that the charges against Ferrari for the introduction of foreign medical practices without government authorisation should be dropped. Ferrari is also accused of committing sporting fraud (falsifying the results of sporting competitions), administering drugs which present serious health risks and abusing the medical profession. Under Italian law, prison sentences of under two years can be suspended. The presiding judge in the case, Maurizio Passarini, is due to announce his verdict on Thursday. One interested observer of the Ferrari case, the performance guru’s most famous client, Lance Armstrong, is currently embroiled in a legal battle of an altogether different kind. After the revelation that Armstrong is suing insurance company SCA Promotions for withholding payment of a $5 million bonus, SCA is now vowing to donate all interest generated by the outstanding fee to the American Cycling Federation. Sources close to procycling have indicated that, under the supervision of SCA Promotions legal representative Chris Copton, private investigators are currently working hard in Europe to compile evidence against Armstrong. SCA have confirmed that their reluctance to pay Armstrong owes to suspicions that he may have used performance- enhancing drugs. Armstrong has always firmly rejected any such accusations.