Lance Armstrong: Oprah Nails Cross Examination Says Former Prosecutor

Good cross examination, Oprah!

Oprah showed us all how to get it done, as much as she could given the witness. She did an effective cross examination when she questioned Lance Armstrong, the 7 time Tour de France Champion, when he finally “admitted” to doping after almost 10 years of denial, suing or threatening many who said otherwise, including journalists, and devastating the lives of several close friends.

She did a good job controlling the witness. Asking “yes” and “no” questions, repeating the question until it was answered, and actively listening to Lance’s answers and then, asking the follow-up questions to get him to explain or clarify. Lucky for us, as an experienced journalist, she knew when it was appropriate to let Lance talk and when it was appropriate to take back the control to get the answer.

No doubt, those “yes” “no” questions Oprah asked Lance were written by an experienced lawyer, they needed to be. Lance has been lying for years, he knows how to answer questions to fool people–classic “manipulator” witness. Lance was clearly well-prepared and coached even down to the wording of his answers. For instance, his “deeply flawed” response was a call for your sympathy, and, frankly, an over-used “excuse” given by so many fallen heroes. Besides, what does “deeply flawed” mean? Does Lance think he is a victim? At what point, did he discover his “flaw”? And, who told him he is “deeply flawed”? Is that the reason he believes for his lying, over and over again?

BTW, I’d love a (legal) copy of the entire transcript and video of the interview. It would be a great teaching tool.(send to

Maybe, it is worth giving him another chance, he just may not have the ability to tell the truth and needs opportunities to learn how. I suspect the upcoming lawsuits will give him plenty of opportunities to learn.

Did he really come clean? Show real remorse? Take full responsibility for his actions? You decide.

What did I think? He didn’t convince me.


He sat with a crossed leg, hands over his mouth at times, hands touching mouth and face, mouth pressed tight or held closed lips, and used plenty of qualifying language, all classic signs that a cross examiner looks for in evaluating the believability and credibility of a witness. After over 20 years of teaching consumers and lawyers advocacy skills and trying my own cases, nope, I didn’t buy it. I wonder what else he hasn’t told us.

Lance’s response to the “motivation” question nailed it for me. When Oprah asked Lance, the most telling question, “why did he come forward now”, he reportedly responded, “I didn’t have a great answer, why I came forward”. Wow, did he really say that? Lance, we don’t need a great answer, we just wanted the truth and, an actual answer instead of repeating the question in your answer. Wow, still dodging.

So tonight, when you watch Oprah’s continued cross examination, keep an eye on Lance. How does his body, hands and face respond to the questions asked and to his answers. Pay attention to what words he uses. Are they consistent with truth-telling?

Then, ask yourself, did he come clean, completely clean?

Congrats Oprah! It is refreshing to see someone actually have the tenacity and the courage to pursue the truth.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


2 Comments on “Lance Armstrong: Oprah Nails Cross Examination Says Former Prosecutor”

  1. Jill Estensen says:

    I won’t give Lance Armstrong my valuable time, even if Oprah is the doing the interview.

    • Yes, many people will agree with you. I’m glad people all over the world are watching Oprah’s no nonsense style as she patiently pursues the answer. It’s a great opportunity for people to watch and learn…how to deal with, how to question, what to look, and how to stand your ground when dealing with a someone who has issues with the truth.

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