Lance Armstrong must face U.S. doping lawsuit, judge rules
By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday rejected Lance Armstrong's bid to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit claiming that he and his former cycling team, which the U.S. Postal Service had sponsored, defrauded the government in a scheme to use banned, performance-enhancing drugs.
U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins said complaints brought by the government and Armstrong's ex-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 Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing 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, who had long denied using performance-enhancing drugs, admitted in January 2013 to doping and faces several civil lawsuits that could drain the fortune he accumulated as one of the world's most popular and successful athletes.
The cancer survivor's net worth, according to the New York Times, was estimated at $125 million in 2012.
Damages in the case before Wilkins in Washington, D.C., 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. [ID:nL2N0J323G] Continued...