Full Rasmussen interview Sunday (In English)

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by Solidsteel, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. Solidsteel

    Solidsteel New Member

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    Hi all

    The following is a word-by-word copied interview done Sunday by the biggest national television channel, TV2, in Denmark. The interview lasted 25 minutes. Michael Rasmussen invited TV2 to his private home in Italy and gave his view on the matter. It was aired twice in Denmark today, they even interupted the tranmission frmo the final stage to show the interviews as well as it was aired at 8 pm primetime.

    Sorry for the gramma, my english is a bit rusty. And it took a lot of time to translate.

    Enjoy the reading

    Regards
    René
    Odense, Denmark.

    ------

    TV2: What is your opinion on the whole situation of your exclusion?

    MR: It’s a surrealistic situation, don’t you think? I just had the greatest day of my cycling career and won on top of the Col d’ Aubisque in the yellow jersey, and in reality I won Tour de France that day. Only to be kicked out of the hotel hours later.

    TV2: How did that happen?

    MR: Well, it happened in the way that we had a meeting in the team bus, where I got the message that I was taken out of the race. Afterwards my team mates were called in and got the same message.

    TV2: How did you react?

    MR: Well, I was in a state of shock and of course I got very angry of the decision that had been made, because I think there was nothing that could justify this decision.

    TV2: I imagine you did not get much sleep that night. What thoughts went through your mind that night?

    MR: No, well first of all, journalists put aside all respect for invasion of privacy. They called me until 2 AM. On top of that, I had 100.000 thought going through my mind concerning what had happened and what went wrong and what the future would bring. I had just been robbed the Tour de France victory.

    TV2: Were you alone that night? And where were you exactly?

    MR: Actually I don’t really know were I was. I know that I was driven to a country house about half an hours drive from Po, and then I was picked up the next morning, taken to the airport and on a private chartered plane to Verona.

    TV2: That’s the way Rabobank chose to send you out of the race. How do you feel about that?

    MR: When it came to it, you must say that at least they had the dignity to take care of me in a way without bigger drama, at least from my side of it. But naturally there were a lot of chaos in the first couple of hours after I left the hotel. But I haven’t had much to do with that.

    TV2: Your team mates, did you have any time to speak with them before you left, and how did they react?

    MR: Yeah, of course I spoke with them and they where naturally frustrated about the situation, just as I was. They had been riding for so many days and had been working for me, and we had won the yellow jersey. They were devastated. It had huge consequences for them financially that we did not win the Tour de France this year.

    TV2: What do you think about the way Rabobank handled this whole matter?

    MR: Well, I think it is better if I don’t express myself about this, as the matter will have legal consequences.

    TV2: Theo de Rooij says you have admitted to him that you were in Italy during the time you should have been in Mexico. Have you?

    MR: As I said, I better not express myself about that as well. It comes under your previous question.

    TV2: But can you relate to and do you still claim that you were only in Mexico during the time you had stated?

    MR: Again, it comes under the case that will be undergoing.

    TV2: You can easily prove it by showing a passport and maybe stamps and plane tickets. Have you considered doing this during the case?

    MR: Well, what I am saying is that now we have to se what the case brings and we will take it from there.

    TV2: Personally, what do you think of Theo de Rooij and his role in this matter? You have been quite close to him.

    MR: There is no doubt that he has been under an enormous pressure, and he has been accused of many things during the Tour, and at some point his facade cracked and he made this decision.

    TV2: Have you spoken to him since?

    MR: No I haven’t. I think there are very few persons who have done that, and I know, even the team has had difficulties in contacting him the last few days.

    TV2: But the team has not only suspended you, actually you have been fired. What do you think about that?

    MR: Well, it looks like a bit of a rash action. I read it on teletext and then I contacted the team to get it confirmed and to get an official dismissal notice. Just to be absolutely certain of what had happened and on what basis.

    TV2: So did you receive it?

    MR: Yes I have.

    TV2: But do you think it is an over reaction?

    MR: Well, for breaking some internal rules, I think it is a very harsh reaction, especially when thinking about the fine given to me earlier as a consequence of the mistake I maid.

    TV2: What are you intending to do as to Rabobank and all the row?

    MR: Naturally, I have contacted a lawyer and I am meeting him next week. After that we will contact Rabobank’s lawyers, and then I hope we can solve this matter in peace and toleration.

    TV2: So you don’t expect this to end up in the courtroom?

    MR: No, I think no one will benefit from that.

    TV2: Today the Tour de France ends at Champs-Élyses. What is your comment on that?

    MR: I am pretty convinced its not the best rider who won Tour de France this year.

    TV2: You have said winning Tour de France is your ultimate dream. Do you feel the victory has been taken from you? That the dream has not come true and has been taken from you?

    MR: Yes, definitely. It is no secret. Since the day I was excluded and for the rest of my life, I will wake up in the morning and remember that I didn’t win the Tour the France because I was wrongfully excluded from the race.

    TV2: How do you feel about having that thought? Living with it the rest of your life.

    MR: I feel truly horrible. I don’t know what to say. Maybe you can compare it to having a Picasso painting stolen. I was on my way to achieve the greatest thing I am capable of, and it was taken from me.

    TV2: What have you done to come to terms with all this? It must have been hard for you at the time you were kicked out. Your dream was crushed. What did you do to come to terms with your expressions and all the feelings inside?

    MR: Well, I have gone back to Italy to the ones closest to me, the people I know I can trust. Those are the ones I have been in contact with and it is also those who have contacted me.

    TV2: Returning to the situation where you were kicked out of the Tour de France. How do you feel about the fact that de race director Prudhomme, announces that this is the best thing that could happen to the Tour de France, only one day after you have been kicked out?

    MR: No question I am having a hard time to understand this. I do not know on what basis these statements are on.

    TV2: They feel you should never have been allowed to enter the Tour the France, in connection with the row about the warnings from different anti doping instances. But you have not been tested positive in any way, so there is no case. How do you see this situation?

    MR: No, it is some hypocrisy. UCI has, various times, stated that there are absolutely no motives for me not entering the Tour de France this year. Therefore, I really cannot see why this is a problem at all.

    TV2: And they also say themselves that they have put pressure on Rabobank to have you kicked out. How do you feel about that?

    MR: It is highly reprehensible that a race director feels that he has the right to kick riders out of the competition and “choose” the winner himself. Meaning, if he wanted to, he could attack Contador, attack Evans and finally he would attack the red haired, so maybe a Frenchman could be on the podium…

    TV2: Do you think it comes down to that?

    MR: I am having difficulties understanding what makes him say the things he has said.

    TV2: Are you going to watch the final today?

    MR: No, I haven’t watched any Tour de France since I was on the podium myself.

    TV2: Do you follow the race at all?

    MR: Yeah, I know Contador is probably winning, isn’t he?

    TV2: How about your team mates, have you spoken to them after you left the Rabobank camp?

    MR: Yes, I have been in contact with several of the riders.

    TV2: What are they saying to all this?

    MR: Well, they hate every day they sit on their bikes right now. Menchov left the race the other day in sympathy. I think that is a huge gesture coming from such a great rider. Boogerd, he left the dinner table crying the other day and he did not feel like riding his bike again.

    TV2: So the whole team is taking this hard, not only you?

    MR: Yes, of course. And it is not only the riders, it is also the mechanics, soigneurs and so on, they all have the Tour de France as their main goal. And it is indeed a catastrophic decision for all.

    TV2: How do you feel of having the chance of winning the Tour de France taken away from you, on pure suspicions?

    MR: I am having difficulties in seeing the basis of these suspicions. I have only missed being present at a certain time, and therefore I think it was a very severe decision.

    TV2: But there have been doubts about your willingness to be available to the anti-doping-authorities. You are known as a perfectionist, how come you have been careless with your reports?

    MR: First of all, I received two warnings from Anti Doping Denmark, who is put into this world to control athletes who are subject to DIF (Danish Athletics Association). And I am a member of Rabobank and have a licence in Monaco, so I have absolutely nothing to do with DIF. So I definitely mean this is unimportant. They should not have a say in this matter. From a legal point of view they have nothing to say.

    TV2: But they say you are a part of the Danish National Team, or at least until they kicked you out. So they should have the right to test you?

    MR: I haven’t been a part of the Danish National Team since 2004, nearly 3 years ago. A lot of Danish riders should have been on this team then, and ought to be in the “pot”. I have never received any guaranties from anyone about being a part of the national team.

    TV2: I have heard that you have signed a document that gives them (DCU, Danish Cycling Union) the right to test you, is that correct?

    MR: No, I have absolutely not signed anything from DCU.

    TV2: So you don’t understand why they have involves them selves in this?

    MR: No, well I might understand why they have involves themselves, but they have not right to interfere.

    TV2: How do you feel about DCU, and especially Jesper Worre (director) of DCU, who partly started all this?

    MR: I don’t know, its an awkward case. It is remarkable that on 26th of June I receive notice of exclusion from the National Team, afterwards I am asked to attend to a reception at DCU’s 100 year anniversary, they day before the National Championships I Roskilde. Photos are to be taken, hands to be shaken on I don’t know how many people. And the next day, they let me start at the National Championships. 14 days later, while riding the yellow jersey, they feel like announcing that I have received warnings. It is a highly remarkable situation, which easily can be taken personal.

    TV2: Do you feel it is something personal, that someone has something against you?

    MR: Well, the night before Thursday, it was almost 1 AM, I received a call from Jesper Worre. At that time he claimed that they were definitely not my enemy.

    TV2: Do you believe that?

    MR: They are definitely not my friends. One can interpret this as one like.
    TV2: But I understand you have been tested by DCU, sorry ADD I mean. The day before the National Championships, is this correct?

    MR: Yes, but the test was staged by UCI. One the day of the National Championships I was tested by ADD, which was staged by DCU.

    TV2: And these UCI warnings, the talk has been concerning two warnings. They exist, right?

    MR: Yes they definitely do and I have not tried to deny that. The first warning goes back to March 2006, at that time we were 6 Rabobank riders who forgot to send in our information. And the 5 of us only got at friendly telephone call from UCI, asking them to send in the information as soon as possible. I received a written and registered warning from UCI. A highly remarkable special treatment of a rider.

    TV2: So that is the warning you feel you should not have gotten at all, and then there is a correct warning. But still, that is only two warnings and no case was opened against you. How do you feel about that? When it comes down to it, this costs you the victory in Tour de France.

    MR: Well, there are a lot of small things that should never have been out in the public, because some information is confidential. So therefore, there was no case. If I had received a third warning, a case would be opened. And then UCI could sanction me. But because there were only two, there was no sensible reason to go public. There are a lot of other riders in Denmark and on the National Team with warnings that the public knows nothing about. So once again, a remarkable special treatment has been carried out.

    TV2:
    Doping problems is naturally on top of the agenda within the cycling sports, and we see that some riders are exposed, Vinokourov, Moreni during the Tour de France. So a lot of resources are used on this. Have you ever used doping?

    MR: No I have absolutely not. And again I must confirm that since 30th June until the moment I was kicked out, I have hade 17 controls. This can only support my words.

    TV2: Do you feel hounded as riders?

    MR: Well, of course there is a problem and there has been a problem. The problem is fought with all means. It is getting smaller, because we have a control system that works. But naturally it is obvious to anyone that the riders are treated very different from other athletes.

    TV2: But what is the control system worth if the race directors of Tour de France overrule the system? A case has not been opened.

    MR: That is what makes the whole situation much more frustrating, not only for me, but for everyone. I think most lawyers or people with just a bit of education can see, that something happened here that should never have happened.

    TV2: How do you think the press have handled the matter?

    MR: Primarily, the press has been driven by sensation-seeking, and has not narrowed the sense of criticism. As the rider in the yellow jersey, I am an easy target, and there have been shots from both left and right.

    TV2: Do you feel part of a smear campaign against yourself?

    MR: From some medias, yes. Others have chosen to view the matter a bit more critical.

    TV2: Why do you think some have been targeting you from the moment you got the yellow jersey?

    MR: The yellow jersey has been hunted for several years now, at least 10 years, lately with Landis who was kicked out. Maybe there has been some expectation from the public that they guy wearing the yellow jersey is the one to get. As I say, at war it is always the ones in front you shoot at.

    TV2: Prior the Tour de France you said that this Tour would decide if you had to work for the rest of your life or you could live from the earnings you made through your sport. Will this situation throw you into financial chaos?

    MR: Not at the moment, no. And a legal case has started now, the result of that will influent my financial situation.

    TV2: But it is a lot of money you are missing out on. A victory like that is truly worth a lot of money, isn’t it? Don’t you think you will be bitter about that?

    MR: Yes, but besides the financial problem, there will be some tough feelings that no money in the world can replace.

    TV2: Now the legal system takes over, and we have seen that this can take a while. You are 33 years old, have you seen your last race as a professional?

    MR: No, I absolutely think not. And it is not my feeling that the process will take that long.

    TV2: So realistically, you think there will be a team that dares to hire you after all this?

    MR: Yes, I am convinced that there are a lot of people who easily can see that mistakes have happened in this case, because a rash decision has been made.

    TV2: So you think you will start at the Tour de France next year?

    MR: It is probably a question that will await an answer for some time. It depends on teams available for the future.

    TV2: But how far are you willing to go for a new chance in the Tour de France?

    MR: Well really, Tour de France is what fascinates med as a rider. And no matter how I was treated, if I get the chance, I will do it, because it’s the most prestigious race in the world as well as the most important race all season. Armstrong was also not so popular, but nevertheless he showed up seven years in a row and beat them all.

    TV2: you have been riding your bike today. How can you manage it, thinking of the situation as it is at the moment?

    MR: I have been in a state of siege by papparazies the last couple of days, and this morning I saw that there was no one in front of the door, so I thought there was an opportunity to get some fresh air. And to do what I love most in the world.

    TV2: Did that help you think some things through?

    MR: That’s were I feel most comfortable, on my bike.

    TV2: I have visited your bike shop in town. Supporting emails are pouring in. How do you feel about the support you receive from cycling people around the world?

    MR: Actually, I think it is not only cycling people. Its also regular people, who easily can see, that a gigantic mistake has been made in this case.

    TV2: You seem relatively serene. Have you recovered from the shock it must have been to be kicked out?

    MR: I will never recover from that.
     
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  2. Klodifan

    Klodifan New Member

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    hi, solidsteel.

    thanks for taking the time to transcribe that interview. it was interesting to read. i will admit that chicken is not my favorite rider and h probably should not have been allowed to start the race, but the debacle between the uci and the aso should not be played through riders. he started the race, regarless if some think that was a mistake, he started it, so he should have been able to finish it. otherwise, alpuerto should have been dismissed as well. another case of discrimination.
     
  3. Doctor.House

    Doctor.House New Member

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    The ASO must have had another reason.

    Cow blood witness Whitney Michaels?


     
  4. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    Also thanks for the transcribe.

    Seems Raz is appealing to the not-so-dedicated average fan. You know the ones that don't know much about the cycling/doping world, can't add 2 + 2, and think that the powers that be are always conspiring against them.

    After hearing his BS responses on TV during the race, how can we believe this. He is really pissed, his life has been pulled from under him, but he doesn't want to go to court to get to the truth. He says he doesn't consider himself part of the Danish CF but he competes in their national chamionship in June. He forgot to mention that he lied to his team about being in Mexico when he was in Italy. Why tell a falsehood here? He claims that he passed 17 tests since the end of June. What does that prove after you have flushed the EPO and whatever else it is out of your system. Did Ulrich pass competition tests? Did all the others who admitted doping? Isn't that why these Ferari/Fuentes guys get paid the big bucks, so that they don't fail dope tests in competition.

    Then he explains that he has the sympathy of all his team. Is that really the case? I don't know. But I thought they were just disappointed because all their work pre-race and during the race had prematurely been taken from them, not because they sympathized with Raz. AFAIK he didn't have much support from the peloton.

    And then there's the Whitney Richards story, which really has no incentive to be told other than to expose a liar that nearly got you arrested on his behalf.

    Just my 2 cents

    PS And the interviewer certainly wanted to appear his best friend, perhaps that was the deal to get the interview.
     
  5. blowin mud

    blowin mud New Member

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    thanks for posting.

    I see dr house is still here but avoiding the tough questions on another thread. Instead he chooses to roam this board posting his drivel on as many threads as he can. What a loser!
     
  6. hgb

    hgb New Member

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    It's interesting that Ras is now deflecting on the question of his location in June. The reporter should have followed up and asked him why he has a Monaco license when he doesn't live there. It looks like he'd be happy to get some kind of monetary settllement out of Rabobank without going to court and having any details become public. He's probably hoping they're just as eager to sweep things under the rug and move on.

    Still, the whole mess could have been avoided if UCI had followed its own rules and forbidden him from participating in the TDF because he received a warning in the 45 day window before the race. It's another case of UCI creating bigger messes by not following established protocol.

    The Landis mess is dragging on for a year because UCI quickly ordered the testing of his B sample at LNDD instead of allowing Landis the requisite 5 days to decide to have it tested at an independent lab. UCI rushed ahead because they wanted to resolve the matter quickly as the TDF is such an important race. Oh, the irony!
     
  7. Eilert Pilarm

    Eilert Pilarm New Member

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    Tak for det, solidsteel.
     
  8. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Wow, thanks for taking the time to transcribe that! MAJOR dedication.

    It was a VERY interesting read. I think the most critical piece here is whether Rasmussen was actually in italy at the time. NOT because that would mean he was doping or because it would mean he should not have started the race. It's critical to this story because Rasmussen continues to INSIST he was in mexico. So IF it turns out he is lying, wow, what a statement it would be about his character then. And if he's telling the truth, WOW, what a statement that would make about his team manager's character!

    I do understand why he wouldn't answer any of those questions though. if their courts are anything like those in America, if he gives those answers now, he taints that evidence for a potential jury (in addition to giving the opposition a chance to find stuff to discredit that evidence).

    I hope he is vindicated and gets a good enough settlement to bring about more rights for the cyclists but I have a feeling those pictures from AP are real.
     
  9. Skoorb

    Skoorb New Member

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    Show me his passport. That answers everything. If he was in Mexico, maybe he wasn't doping. If he was in Italy maybe he wasn't, but he was certainly lying, so damn him.
     
  10. Gregers

    Gregers New Member

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    Extremely evasive on the softball question about Italy. He's using the same template as the one perfected for doping questions-the one where they always answer indirectly. Why could he not just say 'I was never there and I've got the proof' instead of blathering that 'we'll have to see what the case brings'. These are typical weasel words and his answers are completely lacking in credibility. I also note that he's backing off his threatened court action at about the same speed as his miraculous TT performance. I suspect that Rabobank will make Ras a reasonable financial settlement in return for him making a strategic disappearance and ceasing to embarrass them.
     
  11. helmutRoole2

    helmutRoole2 New Member

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    It's pretty easy to prove you were in a certain place. Too easy, really.

    If he'd just produce some evidence the media and everyone else would leave him alone.
     
  12. whiteboytrash

    whiteboytrash New Member

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    However its doesn't really matter if he was in Mexico or Italy... he hasn't actually broken any doping rules..... yes he may of lied to his employer about his whereabouts but there are no dopng violations that say you cant lie and this is the defense he will use to keep his licence and settle out of court with Rabobank..... Rabobank released him on ethical reason and that he lied... but Rasmussen can claim that he was under severe pressure to keep the media and the non-doping PC people happy so he had to lie... he can also say that he was actually protecting his employer by lying that he was in Mexico.... at the end of the day he hasn't broken any doping regulations of any sporting body...... he will be free to ride and join another team.... Rabobank will have to pay out his contract.....

    The chicken is a dope fiend but he'll get away with it... it will be interesting to see if any team will hire him... Disco probably will !
     
  13. Skoorb

    Skoorb New Member

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    This is not a legal matter. I work at the behest of my employer. If they suspect I'm a drug user, they can fire me. They don't have to proove it, just as if I suspect that they sponsor child labor in Panama I can leave them; I don't have to proove it.

    You may be right about settlement. I think heading things off at the pass the entire reason rabo canned him in the first place. They want this matter forgotten post haste.
     
  14. whiteboytrash

    whiteboytrash New Member

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    Who said anything about drugs ? Rasmussen can say that he has never tested positive.... not being available for an out of competition test doesn't constitute a positive test (3 strikes constitutes doping violation but not a positive). Rasmussen was under severe pressure - he had to lie - to protect his employer. If your employee doesn't protect you to the best of of their abilities or provide you with counseling services or information on the ethics of the being honest to your team and manger then they are at fault not you. Rasmussen will get off.... the Italy / Mexico thing means nothing..... ie if I call up work and say I need a day off work to because I have the flu and instead I go to the beach on a family holiday - have I done anything wrong ? Have a broken a rule ? or just the trust of my employer ? What happens if my boss never lets me have holidays when I want them, what happens if my employer failed to warn me of the rules of taking days of work, what happens if my wife is sick and I want her to have a day at the beach ? What happens if my manger if never available to talk about personal issues ? - They are at fault regardless how I behave. The law is in favor of the worker.... we can thank eleanor roosevelt for that..... and frederick engels......... oh and adolf hitler.....
     
  15. Solidsteel

    Solidsteel New Member

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    Thanks for all the posts on this thread. I posted it as I got tired of reading all danish forums/newspaper sites. Its nice with "international" views. You really have some interesting and well argumented views on this case. I hope the debate continues.

    My view is:

    I am very convinced the process is gonna take much longer than Rasmussen expects.

    Rabobank said that Rasmussen had confirmed that he had lied to them about his whereabouts. This matter will be hard to settle, as it seems Rasmussen will never admit having saying so (if he have ever said it). Rabobank on the other hand will stick to their version. So I think we can forget all about that part of the story. Its a dead end.

    It is clear that Rasmussen was not thrown out directly because of his warnings. Of course they did their part, clearly encouraging the tour directors, but it was the violation of internal team rules that got him kicked out.

    So actually it is quite simple. The whole case will be build on Rasmussens ability to prove that he has not lied, hence showing court some kind of hard evidence that confirm that his whereabouts at the time equals his statements.

    On the other hand, Rabobank might have to come forward with more evidence than the public already knows of. A statement by Cassani will not rock the courtroom. By the way, it could be interesting to see if Cassani, at court under oath, would confirm 100% that it was Rasmussen he saw that day.

    The case will not concern doping directly, just administrative issues. But Rasmussens negative doping tests might influence a jury. On the other hand the jury might feel that it is hard to believe he is "clean" when looking at the warnings and missed availability for doping tests.

    It is almost impossible to guess the outcome of this case, but I think that Rasmussens unwilingsness to say anything about the evidence is under strict control from his advisers. My guess is that they are working very hard to find any papers in Mexico and Italy that can strengthen his case. No matter if he was in Italy or not. Rabobank will surely try to find papers showing his entry/exit from Italy at that time. Also they will try to find more witnesses who saw Rasmussen i Italy.

    Unless Rabobank directly with hard evidence can prove he has been in Italy at that time, I think Rasmussen will come out strongest. A statement from Cassani will not be enough to win the case.
     
  16. Solidsteel

    Solidsteel New Member

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  17. Klodifan

    Klodifan New Member

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  18. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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  19. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    I think Rasmussen will not want to go to court because his Mexican lie as well as the whole Whitney Richards scam with corroborating evidence will be played out under oath.
     
  20. Solidsteel

    Solidsteel New Member

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    No I didnt ask for anything. My intention was just to get the story out as I did not see any comments on his interview on international web-sites. It was just fun doing the translation and I think its quite funny to see that they are using parts of the translation. Shows that you do not need to be a journalist to have some kind of influence on the things written in the media.
     
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