Lance Armstrong must face U.S. doping lawsuit, judge rules
FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2012, file photo, Lance Armstrong, left, prepares to take part in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race, as his girlfriend Anna Hansen looks on, in Snowmass Village, Colo. Authorities say the disgraced cyclist hit two parked cars after a night of partying in Aspen but agreed to let his girlfriend take the blame to avoid national attention. Police say they cited Armstrong after the Dec. 28, 2014, hit-and-run but only after his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, admitted to lying for him. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Lance Armstrong and the company that owned the U.S. Postal cycling team will have to pay a promotions company $10 million after losing an arbitration hearing.
ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 02: Anna Hansen Armstrong and Lance Armstrong attend Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit at Aspen Art Museum on August 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 02: Lance Armstrong attends Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit at Aspen Art Museum on August 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
Lance Armstrong, left, readies his motorcycle as Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen observes on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Armstrong rode as the official Grand Marshall in the Annual Mayor's Ride during the 74th Annual Motorcycle Rally. Organizers expect attendance at this week's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to top the estimated 466,000 who made the annual trek last year. The 74th rally starts Monday and runs through Sunday. (AP Photo/Toby Brusseau)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011, file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas. Armstrong has given sworn testimony naming several people he says knew about his performance-enhancing drug use. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
PERRY, IA - JULY 23: Lance Armstrong (L) departs at the start of the third day of the RAGBRAI en route to West Des Moines on July 23, 2013 in Perry, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 14: In this handout photo provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah Winfrey (not pictured) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Oprah Winfreyâs exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Lance Armstrong, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive,' has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The special episode of 'Oprahâs Next Chapter' will air Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT (as previously announced) and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on Oprah.com. (Photo by George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)
21 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 18 of the Tour De France between Montpon Men. and Limoges in France.
22 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 19 of the Tour De France near the Lac de Vassiviere in France.
13 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 11 of the Tour De France between B. d''Oisans and St. Etienne in France.
Lance Armstrong talks at Nike Sportswear and Lance Armstrong Launch 'Stages' Global Art Exhibition at Nike Sportswear at the Montalban Theater on March 7, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 07: Athlete Lance Armstrong attends Nike Sportswear and Lance Armstrong's launch of 'Stages' Global Art Exhibition at Nike Sportswear at the MontalbÂ n Theater on March 7, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage)
25 Jul 2001: Lance Armstrong of the USA and the US Postal team on stage 16 of the Tour de France from Castelsarassin to Sarran in France. Mandatory credit: Pascal Rondeau/Allsport
30 Sep 2000: Lance Armstrong of the USA celebrates bronze in the Mens Road Cycling Individual Time Trial at Moore Park on day 15 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell /Allsport
17 Jul 2001: Lance Armstrong of the USA rides into a turn during the Tour de France from Aix-Les Bains to Alpe d''Huez in France.Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport
Riders of the U.S. Postal Service team, with Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, placed at center with dark glasses, pedal to the finish of the the fourth stage of the Tour de France, a 42 mile team time trial between Epernay and Chateau-Thierry, eastern France, Wednesday July 10, 2002. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong (L) of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, rides with former Olympian Dave Lettieri training during Media Day January 23, 2004 in the region around Solvang, California.(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, speaks during a press conference on media day January 23, 2004 in Solvang, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, gets a tire change while training during Media Day January 23, 2004 in the region around Solvang, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
FILE - In this July 19, 2009, file photo, Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Verbier, Switzerland. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France during a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, reversing more than a decade of denial. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)
FILE - This July 6, 2010, file photo shows Lance Armstrong prior to the start of the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Wanze, Belgium. Armstrong has reached a settlement with an insurance company that sought more than $3 million for bonuses it paid him for winning the Tour de France from 1999 to 2001. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE - In this July 10, 2010 file photo, Lance Armstrong drinks during the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race from Tournus and to Station des Rousses, France.. Nike Inc. is cutting ties with the Livestrong cancer charity. The move by the sports company ends a nine-year relationship that helped the foundation raise more than $100 million and made the charity's signature yellow wristband an international symbol for cancer survivors. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2010 file photo, Lance Armstrong, cyclist and Livestrong founder, attends the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Nike Inc. is cutting ties with the Livestrong cancer charity. The move by the sports company ends a nine-year relationship that helped the foundation raise more than $100 million and made the charity's signature yellow wristband an international symbol for cancer survivors. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart, takes an oath prior to answering questions before a senate-led inquiry into the fight against doping in Paris, France, Thursday, April 25, 2013. The hearings are aimed at looking into ways of improving the fight against doping. USADA'S report produced a scathing report detailing systematic doping by Lance Armstrong and his teams, which led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned from elite sport for life. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Motorola team cyclists, from left to right: Frankie Andreu and Lance Armstrong of the USA, Alvaro Mejia of Colombia, Andrea Peron of Italy and Steve Bauer of Canada observe a minute of silence in respect of their teammate Fabio Casartelli of Italy prior to the start of the 16th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Tarbes and Pau, southwestern France Wednesday July 19, 1995. Casartelli died during the 15th stage Tuesday after he fell while riding down the Portet d'Aspet pass in the Pyrenees mountains. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Former world champion Lance Armstrong of Austin, Tex. reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 18th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Montpon-Menesterol and Limoges, central France Friday July 21, 1995. The race will end Sunday in Paris. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours) <%% 0 PICTURE_OK HEADER_OK 0 2 %%>
Reigning Tour DuPont champion, Lance Armstrong, heads toward the finish line during the prologue stage of Tour DuPont in this April 26, 1995 file photo in Wilmington, Del. On Wednesday, May 1, 1996, Armstrong will begin defense of his Tour DuPont title in the United States' most lucrative bicycle race, which will roll through South Carolina in about two weeks. For the first time, the $260,000 Tour DuPont will skip the usual prologue or pre-race start in favor of a 48-mile circuit race in the title sponsor's headquarters city of Wilmington. (AP Photo/Tim Shaffer)
Lance Armstrong of the U.S. waves on the podium as he retains the overall leader's yellow jersey after the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Mourenx and Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, July 22, 1999. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)
Overall leader Lance Armstrong of the U.S. speeds on his way to win the 19th stage of the Tour de France cycling race, a 57-kilometer individual time trial around the Futuroscope theme park near Poitiers, western France, Saturday, July 24, 1999. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, who is recovering from cancer, smiles as he answers reporters prior to the start of the 9th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Pau and Loudenvielle in the Pyrenees mountains Monday July 14, 1997. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, laughs as 1999 Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong jokingly checks to see if the yellow leader's jersey he presented the governor is malodorous, Monday, Aug. 9, 1999, in Austin, Texas. Armstrong was treated to a hometown parade Monday, which honored his tour victory and gave his cancer research foundation unprecedented exposure. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
1999 Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong addresses a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday, Aug. 10, 1999. (AP Photo/Khue Bui)
1999 Tour de France cycling race winner Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, holds a press conference at the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers, central France, Thursday, June 29, 2000. The Tour will start from the Futuroscope on Saturday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Overall leader Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, left, chats with fourth-placed Christophe Moreau of France prior to the start of the 20th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Belfort and Troyes, eastern France, Saturday, July 22, 2000. The race ends in Paris on Sunday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Overall leader Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, plays with his son Luke prior to the start of the 13th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Avignon and Draguignan, southeastern France, Friday, July 14, 2000. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Three-time Tour de France winner and leader of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas trains outside Luxembourg, ahead of the Tour de France cycling race, Friday, July 5, 2002. The 21-stage Tour will start in Luxemburg on Saturday July 6, 2002, to end in Paris on July 28. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, right, grabs a water bottle that was brought from a U.S. Postal Service team car by teammate Victor Hugo Pena, leaning foreground left, as other teammate Floyd Landis of San Diego, Calif., left, looks on, during the 6th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Forges-les-Eaux and Alencon, western France, Friday July 12, 2002. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
FILE - In this July 24, 2005 file photo, Lance Armstrong, of Austin, Texas, center, waves from the podium as his son Luke, rear right of Armstrong, his twin daughters Grace, center right, and Isabelle, center left, look on, after winning his seventh straight Tour de France cycling race, during ceremonies on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. Armstrong has been stripped of his award in the Legion of Honor, the best-known recognition in France. Armstrong was given the rank of "Chevalier" _ or Knight _ in the "Legion d'Honneur" in 2005, the last year of his seven consecutive Tour de France victories. (AP Photo/Bernard Papon/Pool, file)
FILE - In this July 18, 2005 file photo, overall leader of the Tour de France cycling race, Lance Armstrong, right, relaxes with compatriot and teammate George Hincapie outside their hotel in Pau, southwestern France. Hincapie was the "Loyal Lieutenant" who helped Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall. Now, Hincapie is peeling back the shroud that has long covered the dark era of doping in cycling in a book due out next month that is part memoir, part mea culpa. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati, File)
BACK TO SLIDE
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.
Landis, who lied about his own doping before confessing, originally brought the lawsuit in 2010 under a federal law, the False Claims Act, that lets whistleblowers pursue fraud cases on behalf of the government, and obtain rewards if successful.
The Justice Department joined the case in February 2013, hoping to recover some of the estimated $40.5 million that the Postal Service paid from 1998 to 2004 to have Armstrong and his teammates from the now-defunct Tailwind Sports Corp wear its logo during races.
Court papers submitted by Armstrong's lawyers this month show the government has been seeking to recoup more than $105 million from Armstrong, Tailwind and former team manager Johan Bruyneel.
This sum reflected triple damages under the False Claims Act for claims made after June 10, 2000, which was 10 years before the lawsuit began, the papers show.
In Thursday's decision, Wilkins also denied Bruyneel's request to dismiss the lawsuits against him.
Rebecca Worthington, a lawyer for Bruyneel, was not immediately available for comment.
The case is Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corp et al, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 10-00976.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller and Richard Chang)