Following former champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s decision to not interview under oath with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the US government is reportedly planning to sue the seven-time Tour de France winner, who admitted to doping, for defrauding the US public while competing for the publicly funded US Postal Service team.
The disgraced former champion has had a torrid year since allegations of doping surfaced against him early last year, with USADA coming out with an extensive report detailing Armstrong’s involvement with doping, saying that he was at the center of it and used performance-enhancing drugs while competing in the Tour de France. Of course, this led to Armstrong being stripped of all seven of his titles and being banned for life from the sport. This was coupled with Armstrong’s own resignation in the matter, saying that he would no longer fight the allegations against him culminating in an admission of his doping in an interview recently with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. Following this, Armstrong’s lawyer said that his client was willing to help the anti-doping agency with its investigation, but said that he would not interview with them under oath.
Now the lawsuit against him, which has been filed by a former teammate, has drawn the interest of the US government, which has joined in on it, in itself aiming to recover sponsorship from the cyclist. Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis, who himself admitted to doping throughout his career, is seeking damages, according to the federal False Claims Act, which may award Landis anywhere up to 15 to 25 percent of any damages.
Of course, Armstrong’s legal team was involved in negotiations with federal prosecutors, trying to convince them not to join in on Landis’ case, trying to prove that the US Postal Service benefitted from its association with Armstrong rather than being damaged.
But it seems that the talks fell through, as a statement released today by Armstrong’s counsel, Robert Luskin, said, "Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged. The Postal Services’ own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship—benefits totalling more than $100m."
The present lawsuit is not the only one to have been filed against Armstrong. Earlier this month, a Texan company sought to recoup almost $12 million from the cyclist.