A report in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (via LA Observed) indicates that the case of Fernanda Romero, a Mexican actress accused of a sham immigration marriage, might have triggered the most recent doping allegations to hound cyclist Lance Armstrong.
As we noted Friday, a lawsuit against Rock & Republic jeans entrepreneur Michael Ball by a fashion photographer who said the company owed him money for a fashion shoot mentioned Romero's allegedly fraudulent marriage, setting off her federal trial: Ball, it turns out, is a pro-cycling principal who had his Marina Del Rey home raided in a probe related to the Armstrong doping allegations, according to the Journal.
The story indicates that the Romero trial might have sent investigators sniffing around Ball, thus possibly reigniting the Armstrong allegations. The Journal:
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Michael Ball, CEO of Rock & Republic and a pro cycling sponsor, has hovered at the periphery of that sham marriage trial, which wrapped up this week, and the investigation of Armstrong, though the connection has gone unreported. Federal investigators raided Ball's Marina del Rey house in May looking for evidence related to the Armstrong probe, according to attorneys familiar with the case.
As we noted Friday, a juror in the Romero trial appears to be holding out, throwing a possible decision into question. A judge ordered the panel to carry on Friday.
The 28-year-old's 2005 marriage to Kent Ross came to light after fashion photographer Markus Klinko, said to be a jilted ex-boyfriend, sued Ball and mentioned the union in the filing.
Romero is alleged to have paid Ross $5,000 so that she could be married and immigrate to the United States legally. Reports alleged she was seeing Ball at the time of the marriage.