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Feds reject Armstrong's motion to dismiss whistleblower suit

By:
Cycling News
Published:
September 24, 2013, 10:08 BST,
Updated:
September 24, 2013, 11:17 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 24, 2013
US fans in 2002 going mad for Lance Armstrong

US fans in 2002 going mad for Lance Armstrong

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Attorneys ask for simultaneous deposition to multiple suits

The US Federal Government rejected on Monday a motion to dismiss Floyd Landis's whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and former US Postal Service team owners Tailwind Sports Corp. The lawsuit alleges that Armstrong and the team management defrauded the government by doping in order to win, and if successful could cost Armstrong $120 million, three times the entire amount of US Postal Service's sponsorship, which was $40 million.

Armstrong's attorneys had argued that the sponsor should have known of the riders' doping, because a French investigation in 2000 looked into such allegations, but the US attorneys rejected that argument.

"The Postal Service, like millions of others, cannot be faulted for having been deceived by Armstrong," they wrote in a filing issued Monday.

Armstrong's attorneys claimed that "the government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure and acclaim that goes along with being his sponsor", and that it "got exactly what it bargained for."

"But the Government did not get a 'winner'," the US attorneys wrote. "On the contrary, it got a fraud, and all of the publicity and exposure that goes along with having sponsored a fraud. That is decidedly not what the Government bargained for.

"The United States should have an opportunity to recover damages for the money that it paid in reliance on Armstrong's many lies, and we therefore respectfully request that the Court deny Armstrong's motion to dismiss the Government's complaint."

Armstrong's attorneys on Monday asked that the courts consider allowing Armstrong to give his testimony for multiple lawsuits at the same time. In addition to the whistleblower suit, Armstrong has been trying to settle actions from two different insurance companies that paid out bonuses to him for winning the Tour de France, titles which have now been stripped, among others.

"Lance Armstrong has been sued in five different actions in five different state and federal courts around the nation," his attorney wrote in a motion filed in federal court. "Deposing the same witnesses multiple times across those suits is a waste of the courts' and the parties' resources."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong's team has been in settlement talks with the US Justice Department and the insurance companies. He recently settled with the British newspaper the Sunday Times over a 2004 libel lawsuit he won under false pretences. A California court also undermined a lawsuit taken by a group of people who purchased his biographies "It's Not About the Bike" and "Every Second Counts", alleging that the lies contained within amounted to false advertising. The judge ruled the books were covered by the First Amendment to the US Constitution that protects free speech.

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