Gilbert's lawyer accuses state commission boss of wrongdoing

RENO " A lawyer for Joey Gilbert, fighting allegations the suspended boxer took banned drugs, is accusing the head of the Nevada Athletic Commission of tampering with an expert witness and defaming the Reno middleweight with false statements.

Reno lawyer Mark Schopper outlined a wide range of alleged abuse of power in a motion he filed with the state regulatory panel late Monday demanding executive director Keith Kizer recuse himself from the investigation and pending hearing on the case.

Kizer, a former deputy state attorney general, has "acted in a manner so far outside the bounds of acceptable professional behavior that there is no alternative," Schopper said in the motion.

He "has orchestrated a media trial of Mr. Gilbert quite literally from day one. ... (His) false, misleading, negligent and defamatory statements in the news media have irreparably damaged Mr. Gilbert's reputation."

Kizer said on Tuesday he has no intention of removing himself from the disciplinary proceedings.

"I have reviewed the motion and I do not see any merit to it," Kizer said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. He said the Nevada Attorney General's Office was drafting an opposition to the motion. He had no further comment.

Gilbert, 31, gained international attention on the NBC reality series "The Contender," in 2005. A licensed lawyer who was a three-time national collegiate champion at Nevada, he has a 16-1 record with 12 knockouts as a professional.

He was suspended after he tested positive for anabolic steroid, methamphetamine, amphetamine and three other substances before and after his knockout victory over Charles Howe in Reno in September.

The commission later dismissed the methamphetamine charge, after receiving conflicting results for the substance.

Schopper maintains the tests for the other substances also were flawed, the result of "false positives" that were not adequately screened due in part to the commission's failure to establish formal protocols for drug testing.

"Everybody from the World Chess Federation to the World Badminton Federation and the NFL " every body who oversees drug testing in sports or otherwise has protocols in place. Not just to protect the athlete but to protect the commission too," he told AP in an interview.

Schopper, in the motion, said Kizer's repeated "false and misleading statements" about results of Gilbert's drug test results have effectively convicted him through the media before his hearing.

"The general public is under the mistaken but understandable assumption that the commission has already concluded that there is proof of use of steroids and methamphetamine," he said.

Proof of the harm to Gilbert's reputation includes a story under the headline "Dumbest Doper in the World" in a newspaper in Berlin, Germany in October that quoted Kizer saying Gilbert's case was the first time he'd ever heard of someone testing positive for six different substances.

Schopper said Kizer's most recent misrepresentation of the test results came earlier this month when he told AP and other news organizations that a second test of Gilbert's pre-fight urine sample showed the presence of a stanozolol metabolite, which indicates steroid use. A previous test had found 2 or 3 of the metabolites, Kizer said at the time.

Schopper said the second test was significant because of the presence of only one metabolite. He said their toxicologist was informed by the Las Vegas lab that conducted the first test that at least two metabolites are necessary for a positive finding.

The allegation of witness tampering involved Kizer's ex parte communication with Dr. Robert Voy, a former chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee and former medical review officer for the NFL Players Association who is serving as a witness for Gilbert's defense.

An exhibit attached to the motion includes an e-mail Kizer sent to Voy after Gilbert issued a news release critical of the commission's lack of protocols and Schopper told the Reno Gazette-Journal that one of Voy's colleagues, Dr. John Hiatt, had resigned from the Las Vegas lab.

"I take it that like Mr. Schopper, you had nothing to do with this potshot at John Hyatt (sic)," Kizer wrote to Voy.

Schopper said he subsequently learned Hiatt had retired as opposed to resigned and that Kizer's comment apparently was criticism of that accidental misrepresentation.

Schopper said Kizer's contact with Voy may be a criminal violation if it is shown to have been intended to intimidate Voy or dissuade him from testifying or producing evidence in the case.


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