Lance Armstrong filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. federal court in Texas against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, seeking to block the agency’s proceedings against him on charges that he doped during his career.
The lawsuit claims that USADA rules violate an athlete’s constitutional right to a fair trial, and that the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction in his case.
“Mr. Armstrong brings this Complaint against USADA and its CEO, Travis Tygart, to prevent imminent violations of Mr. Armstrong’s Constitutional and common law due process rights, by which the Defendants would strip Mr. Armstrong of his livelihood, his seven Tour de France titles, and the many other honors he has won in his world-renowned cycling career,” reads the final brief, which was submitted along with the motion for a temporary restraining order.
Armstrong’s lawyer Mark Fabiani provided BikeRadar with the motion for temporary restraining order as well as two related documents, a 111-page final complaint and a 57-page final brief. These latter documents present the larger case of Armstrong’s position, asserting his innocence of all charges.
On June 30, USADA announced its intent to file doping charges against Armstrong. As with all USADA charges, the athlete has the option to accept USADA’s sanctions — usually a suspension from competition and, when applicable, a stripping of titles — or to contest the charges before a three-personal arbitration panel. In both the filed complaint and the final brief, Armstrong’s camp derides the arbitration panel as a “kangaroo court.”
Both Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton went through this same arbitration panel at the US level after USADA filed doping charges against them, and, after losing, both appealed to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Armstrong’s filed motion asks the court to immediately impose a restraining order against USADA, “because USADA seeks to force Mr. Armstrong to choose by 5:00 pm eastern on July 14, 2012 either to participate in USADA’s pre-ordained proceeding or to agree to skip the pretense altogether and accept USADA’s sanctions. Those sanctions would include a lifetime ban on his ability to compete and the stripping of his cycling achievements, including his seven Tour de France titles. If Mr. Armstrong does not respond, then, on 5:01 pm eastern of the same day, USADA will automatically and unilaterally impose these sanctions.”
When asked for comment by BikeRadar, USADA provided the following statement from CEO Travis Tygart.
"USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity,” the statement reads. “Like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, this lawsuit is without merit and we are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport."