Lance Armstrong must face U.S. doping lawsuit, judge rules

Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:42pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected Lance Armstrong's bid to dismiss a federal whistleblower lawsuit claiming that he and his former cycling team, which had been sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, had defrauded the government through a scheme to use banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins in Washington, D.C., said the complaints brought by the government and Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis were "rife with allegations that Armstrong had knowledge of the doping, and that he made false statements to conceal the doping and the attendant obligation which would have resulted if the government had known of the doping."

Armstrong, 42, was stripped of his seven victories at the Tour de France and banned for life in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

Armstrong admitted in January 2013 to doping, and faces several civil lawsuits that could drain the cancer survivor's wealth accumulated when he was among the world's most popular and successful athletes.

Damages in the case before Wilkins could top $100 million, court papers show.

Robert Luskin and Elliot Peters, two of Armstrong's lawyers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

They have argued that the Postal Service benefited from the valuable exposure it got from its sponsorship, and that the lawsuit had been brought too late.

Paul Scott, a lawyer for Landis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment.   Continued...

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong awaits the start of the 2010 Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town March 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings