Jonathan Gault has an amazing story that we just published that should scare all clean athletes.
No athlete with a positive adverse analytical finding had ever won an appeal against the Athleitcs Integrity Unit (and there have been more than 100 cases) until Lawson was recently cleared. How did he do it? Well in part his legal team was able to show that the head of the WADA lab who testified against him provided false testimony.
Another problem specific to Lawson’s case was the testimony of Professor Christiane Ayotte, director of the WADA-accredited doping control lab at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Laval, Quebec. Ayotte was called by the AIU as an expert witness in Lawson’s AIU appeal. She testified that in recent years, positive tests for trenbolone in her lab had always featured low concentrations of the substance, making it impossible to separate intentional cheaters from those who had ingested contaminated meat.
Lawson’s team requested records from Ayotte’s lab to confirm these claims; the lab denied the records, forcing Lawson’s team to appeal to CAS to compel the lab to turn them over.
The actual records revealed Ayotte’s claim was not accurate. The CAS panel noted some of the levels measured "were large" and that 18 of the 21 positive tests for trenbolone since 2013 contained higher concentrations than Lawson’s .65 ng/mL. Lawson’s agent, Paul Doyle, told LetsRun.com the average concentration was 208 times higher.
At the same time, the panel noted many of the samples for athletes in America in 2018 and 2019 did feature low concentrations (2 ng/mL or below). It was, it seemed, possible for trenbolone to cause inadvertent positives.
While the CAS panel said it was not "entirely persuaded" by Ayotte's testimony, Doyle went much further.
"Christiane Ayotte should be fired from her job and never be able to testify as an expert witness ever again,” says Doyle.
So here's the Cliff Notes version of what happened. Lawson tests positive for an illegal drug by registering a minuscule .65ng/ml. To put that in context for you, that's approximately 1/90,000 the weight of a grain of salt per mL. For comparison's sake, when Ajee Wilson tested positive for another drug was found to have 8 ng/ml of zeranol in her sample.
The head of the WADA lab testifies that the tiny amount doesn't mean much of anything because athletes always test positive for a tiny amount of the drug. Lawson's team asks to see the data to see if that's actually true. The lab refuses to turn over the records but a court makes them turn it over after Lawson has already been banned and the records show what she said is not true. So basically she lied (or I guess you could say she misspoke if you think it was not intentional) and he was banned but now has been cleared.