DOCUMENT: Sports, Crime

FBI Busts Doctor For Threatening Armstrong Prober

Man, 72, targeted head of U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

Lance Armstrong

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Travis Tygart Threat

JULY 19--A retired doctor has been charged with threatening the life of the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency after the group issued a blistering report branding cyclist Lance Armstrong a sophisticated drug cheat, The Smoking Gun has learned.

In a felony indictment, Gerrit Keats, 72, is accused of transmitting a “threat to injure” Travis Tygart, executive director of the anti-doping organization.

The threat was sent on October 24, 2012, two weeks after USADA issued its devastating findings against Armstrong, whom the group had previously stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling competitions.

A second man, Robert Hutchins, was named in a separate indictment charging him with threatening Tygart last August. Hutchins, a 52-year-old Utah resident, is accused of sending a threatening communication on August 23, 2012, the day Armstrong announced that he would not contest USADA’s doping sanctions.

The one-count indictment against Keats, a urologist who lives in Clearwater, Florida, was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado (USADA is headquartered in Colorado Springs). Court records there are sealed, so the specific content of the alleged threat--which apparently was sent via e-mail—is unknown).

Following the release of the evidence against Armstrong, Tygart told reporters that he had received several death threats while probing the disgraced athlete. The 42-year-old Tygart (seen above) added that the FBI was investigating the threats, which prompted him to increase security measures.

FBI agents collared Keats in Florida after an arrest warrant was issued last Thursday. Following an appearance in Tampa federal court, Keats was released on bond and ordered to make an initial appearance on July 29 at the federal courthouse in Denver.

Keats, who did not reply to a TSG e-mail seeking comment, last year authored a virulently racist e-mail sent to the city manager of Sanford, Florida, weeks after Trayvon Martin was shot to death there.

In a letter sent via the city’s web site, Keats excoriated “Rabid Racist Niggers” like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Attorney General Eric Holder for purportedly fomenting a “feeding frenzy race riot” in the wake of the unarmed Martin’s killing by George Zimmerman. He opined that the black leaders “should be in jail, preferably shot.”

Keats’s letter was one of hundreds released by Sanford officials in response to Freedom of Information requests. When questioned by a reporter for The Grio as to whether he considered himself a racist, Keats replied, “No, not really.” As for calling Holder a "nigger," Keats said, “I think he is pretty typical of that mentality, yeah pretty much. And I think he is pretty much a disgusting, despicable human being and he has no concept of law and order.”

If convicted of threatening Tygart, Keats--who is being prosecuted by Holder’s Department of Justice--faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a probation term of no more than three years. (5 pages)