Lance Armstrong Will Testify in Federal Whistleblower Lawsuit in June
Lance Armstrong has agreed to testify in the federal whistleblower lawsuit later this month, while prosecutors announced that they would seek $96 million in damages to recoup the money Armstrong defrauded from the government by violating anti-doping regulations.
Former cycling teammate Floyd Landis brought the whistleblower lawsuit forth in 2010, alleging that Armstrong defrauded the US government by doping while under contract with the US Postal Service as one of his sponsors during the Tour de France. Armstrong was sponsored by the US Postal Service during many of his Tour de France wins, and he claimed the entire time that he was not using performance-enhancing drugs.
Finally, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, Armstrong broke down and admitted that he had used performance enhancers while cycling on behalf of the US government with US taxpayer dollars.
The federal government joined Landis’s whistleblower lawsuit in 2013 after the US Anti-Doping Agency issued a report that accused Armstrong and other cyclists of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Prosecutors now say that the US government was defrauded of more than $32 million as a result of Armstrong’s doping while the US Postal Service sponsored his team. Under the False Claims Act the government may triple the total damages. Prosecutors say they will go after the maximum amount of damages against Armstrong – $96,965,465.82.
Armstrong’s attorneys have attempted to prevent the former cycling champion – who was stripped of all his Tour de France wins when the doping news broke – from providing testimony in the whistleblower lawsuit, to no avail. Attorneys for the defense argued that they had not received all the evidence in the whistleblower case, and it was therefore inappropriate for the federal government to take Armstrong’s deposition. Armstrong has been scheduled to provide deposition under oath on June 23rd of this year; if he lies during the deposition, then he could face additional federal charges, including perjury.
In his rebuke of the whistleblower lawsuit, Armstrong claims that the postal service should have known that he and some of his teammates were doping. Allegations that Armstrong and others used performance-enhancing drugs have been in the news for years, but US officials “did nothing.” Armstrong’s sponsorship deal with the postal service began in 1995, and was continually renewed.
Earlier this year, in April, Armstrong listed the names of fellow teammates and coaches who knew about his doping, and in some cases even encouraged him to continue despite anti-doping regulations.
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