On Friday, federal government authorities sued cyclist Lance Armstrong on the grounds that he had defrauded the U.S. Postal Service by accepting sponsor money while he was taking drugs and medication in violation of rules of the sport for which he was sponsored. However, Armstrong thinks the claims are time-barred.
Armstrong, who has already been banned for life from cycling and has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, is now in for another bitter episode in the courts.
Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for Washington DC said the civil suit “is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises.” According to government records, Armstrong and his team had received more than $30 million in sponsorship money from the government over the years.
Prosecutors haven’t given any indication of pressing criminal charges, and Armstrong’s lawyer said, “The Postal Service’s own studies show that the service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship – benefits totaling more than $100 million.”
A sealed whistleblower lawsuit had been brought against Armstrong in 2010, by his teammate Floyd Landis, and the government decided to join the lawsuit, leading to the seat being unsealed. On Friday, Landis’s lawyer released a statement from Landis in which he said, “I had come to a point in my life where I decided that I had to tell the truth for the sake of my conscience.”
Landis also admitted to cheating, and Armstrong is currently facing other lawsuits that have followed that admission. Two men from California sued Armstrong and his book publisher in January claiming that Armstrong’s book did not merit classification as non-fiction, when it was filled with lies, and deceived consumers.