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

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)

Join the discussion

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swimdude1978 June 20 2014 at 2:35 PM

Lance Armstrong is going to finally get what he deserves!

Flag Reply +19 rate up
1 reply
Blackyori swimdude1978 June 20 2014 at 11:05 PM

Let me guess cycling wanna be?

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2 replies
Jennifer Blackyori June 21 2014 at 2:48 AM

Let me guess, steroid injecting loser?

Flag +3 rate up
Luna Blackyori June 21 2014 at 6:51 AM

Let me guess. Idiot high on drugs?

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petpetdon June 20 2014 at 2:42 PM

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.

Athletes ARE NOT heroes. Athletes play games that make them millions of dollars. Some use drugs. The honest ones DON'T. Sorry Lance you are not a hero, popular or successful because you used drugs to try and beat the system.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
1 reply
blueeyessing petpetdon June 21 2014 at 5:59 AM

Re: Athletes ARE NOT heroes...reminds of when OJ was referred to as a hero at least 500 X a day by someone in the media after the murders......he was only an athlete not a hero.

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1 reply
r1234598760 blueeyessing June 21 2014 at 7:40 AM

overpaid ,football jock ,

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wnagle53 June 20 2014 at 2:42 PM

every day this guy proves to be a bigger piece of **** than previously thought.

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1 reply
David wnagle53 June 21 2014 at 1:35 AM

How nice you are so well suited to judge. Would your name be Icarus?

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rockymtnhikerCo June 20 2014 at 5:16 PM

Lance,i ride bicycle here in Colorful Colorado,i used to admire you.But then I realized what a lying fraud you really are.If you still have the Aspen,Co mansion,I hope you lose it,you can flip burgers at McDonalds for all I care. You are a pathetic example of a Republican

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6 replies
moooooooooochelle June 21 2014 at 12:20 AM


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1 reply
projcontrols moooooooooochelle June 21 2014 at 12:39 AM

- Lance is a Republican like you - both frauds

Flag Reply 0 rate up
caminante4 June 20 2014 at 2:47 PM

Armstrong, what an American disgrace and world disgrace.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
albatroll June 20 2014 at 4:30 PM

The postal service paid him to wear their logo to increase business. This has nothing to do with the use of PED's. He advertised for the postal service and I assume it was good for their business. Judge should have thrown this one out!

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3 replies
zzjato June 20 2014 at 5:42 PM

someone said, you can never take away what really happened and what really happened is that Lance Armstrong did the samething that everyone else was doing ( a report was conducted that showed the cyclers finishing 2,3,4,5,6 and 7th places in those TDF all tested positive for doping and steroids at one time or another) and dominated the sport even after fighting cancer. This man is the epitome of don't give up the fight and do whatever it takes to win. Who down the line would be the true unadulterated recipient of his yellow jerseys'? Someone WHO finished in 7th or 8th place an hour or more behind his blazing times, He used the intellect of our human engineering science as others had done also, but it was the power of his own intensity that made him the phenom above all others, just because you blood dope or do steroids does not set you apart, it is your inner being that dictates the level of intensity that you train at while using perfomance enhancing science, which sets you apart.

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6 replies
Ray June 20 2014 at 3:23 PM

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Caught in his own web of lies. No pity here he cheated he deserves all the bad Karma that’s come his way.

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michael June 20 2014 at 3:49 PM

Good god, let this go. Lance was the only one doing it??? That's almost too stupid to even fathom. So now it appears to be a witch hunt singling out Armstrong and people are looking to make their pathetic careers on his back. Let Lance be and move on with your lives.

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7 replies
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