Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Updated - In newspaper interview Armstrong denies he did anything wrong

Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong was interviewed for almost three hours yesterday by The Province, and in today's paper reporter Ethan Baron writes: Armstrong, 59, said he did nothing wrong, but agreed to a guilty plea because authorities told him that if he didn't, his son wouldn't be able to get his plea agreement for a year and a day in jail.

The U.S. prosecutor's case was riddled with inaccuracies, Armstrong claimed in the interview, but was told Gregory would have faced a 10-year prison sentence unless he agreed to a package plea.

"They put a gun to my head by putting it to Greg's head," Baron reports.

On Tuesday, Armstrong said he opened the box because it was large, looked beat-up and had been wrapped with a lot of tape.

"If I knew what was in the box, why would I have opened it in plain view of everybody?" the retired dentist said.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Special Agent Jim Burkhardt pounced before Armstrong had a chance to call his son to ask about the contents of the box, Armstrong claimed.

"There's not a chance in the world that I'm taking this across the border," Armstrong said. "I know it's got to be illegal."

Asked for a response, U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie told The Province Armstrong needs to live with the statements he made.

"That's what he told law enforcement. It's unfortunate that having entered a guilty plea that he is now interested in disputing the facts of the case," Langlie said, adding that Armstrong pleaded guilty "freely and voluntarily."

You can read the full interview HERE

I have been in contact with Jim who told me that his "intent would be to let the facts speak for themselves," and that The Province "didn't get it completely right."

UPDATE: Thursday 3PM - Since then a friend has reported claims by Jim of Prosecutorial misconduct, the fact that his son was under investigation prior to Jim's arrest, and mention of a polygraph test. (You can read them in the 6.53PM comment to this post.)

None of that goes directly to what is for me the key question: was Jim coerced into making false statements in his plea agreement admitting guilt for sommething he did not do, in order to have his son's sentence reduced from ten years to one year?

Jim had agreed to make a statement here, however the last email I received from him stated that he was on his way to the airport. "By the time we arrive in Prague, some desicions will be made regarding absolute, full disclosure, and any potential risk to Greg's wellbeing now."

I have asked Jim six pointed questions intended to cut through the inuendo and supposition. Though public interest is obviously high now, I think we should probably give Jim time to decide what is in his and his son's best interests before he makes a more definitive statement.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like alot of double talk to me. So all the other boxes he picked up prior? He didn't know what was in those boxes either? His admission to the arresting officer? Admit it and move on. I have lost all respect for this man. If my child was doing something illegal and I was a person of integrity, I would let them suffer the consequences of their actions, not lie about my involvment so they could get a better deal, then DENY my involvement after the fact. It doesn't work that way. GUILTY FOR EVER.

Anonymous said...

If you knew Jim at all you would know he is a man of integrity. He would not make the decision to save his son lightly. However who amongst us would not make the same sacrifice he has to protect our children. If you have read the earlier postings it was obvious that his son's plea was dependant on Jim also pleading guilty. Isn't it time we moved on from this and let the issue be over.

Anonymous said...

Integrity Jim? Who are you kidding? If Jim had an ounce of integrity he would have never got involved in wheelchair curling. As you can see from his latest picture coming from court, he's WALKING! He only uses a wheelchair to curl, not like the rest of us who need a wheelchair to maintain our daily life.

They also call Jim the victim. The true victims are us honest wheelchair users and curlers. We are the victim's of Jim's lies and cheating and again victims of the CCA for them backing Jim and ignoring us. Shame on Jim Armstrong, Gery Peckham, Greg Stremlaw, Wendy Morgan and Joe Rea all for playing their part in this disgraceful situation, all in the quest to win GOLD at the cost of others.

Anonymous said...

Why is this man still being allowed to represent canada in any event?
Guilty is guilty.
Man up.

Bruce Cameron said...

Please people send emails to Greg Stremlaw at the CCA. I posted his email on one of the other articles and it is readily available on the CCA web site. We have to bombard him with emails and then just maybe he will at least tell us what the CCA punishment and restrictions were as well as who sat on the review committee. He won't jump out of the monitor. What can he do.....take ur birthday away from you.....Jim Armstrong has made an absolute fool of himself at the expense of the wheelchair curling community by now denying all previous admissions of guilt. The word integrity and Jim Armstrong are not synonoymous. This is a classic case of bullshit baffling brains...and we can not sit back and let that happen. Go after Greg Stremlaw and the CCA.

Anonymous said...

Hummmmmm. And three years mailing the IllEGAL packages to th USA instead of here in Canada? Come on and he didnt know......BS

Anonymous said...

Bruce, Bruce, Bruce,

You simply can't get past the fact that Jim was ever approved for play.

Get over it, old man.

Jack Smart said...

I agree in part to Bruce Cameron’s comments that if writers have strong feelings regarding the National program and Jim Armstrong’s continued participation then take it up with Greg Stemlaw and the CCA. The comments and banter on these subjects is becoming ridiculous. I don’t appreciate reading about personal attacks on anyone and it continues to annoy me that everyone maintains anonymity regarding their comments. If you want to see change, then contact the policy makers at CCA and your provincial curling organizations. I have written Mr. Stemlaw to express my views on wheelchair curling and encourage those who wish to share their views on the National program and Jim Armstrong to do the same. If you feel strongly about something then submit the letter, put your name to it and end this wasteful banter that continues to go on. This is becoming a tabloid in my opinion and discourages me from reading about other wheelchair curling news and growth.

Thanks and good curling.
Jack Smart

Wayne F said...

I agree with Jack, and am glad you must put your name to the article or identify yourself in some other means. As a probation officer by day and a curler by night I still look in the mirror and recognize that we all live in a glass house in some capacity and it might be the black sheep family member or the youth record we had as a kid but we all have something in our life, or trhe lives of our families that we are not particularly proud of. The old saying sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me is bull s##t. Names and comments made to some youth have brought them to commit suicide especially when dealing with identity issues. What ever we or you think of Jim or Chris for that matter they have brought Wheelchair Curling to a sport that will soon be recognized by the mainsteam and for that I am thankful.

Good luck CANADA IN Prague and GO TEAM GO IN THUNDER BAY next weekend.

Peace, love,,,,,, As a person with a physical disability we all know how important it is to enjoy the life we and are familes have.


Wayne Ficek
Kenora ON