Armstrong asks for summary judgment in US civil fraud lawsuit

Attorneys for Lance Armstrong this week have asked a US judge to throw out the civil fraud lawsuit against the disgraced cyclist, arguing that the sponsorship contracts involved in the case were between Tailwind Sports, owner of the US Postal Service team, and the government and not directly with him.

As reported by USA Today on Thursday, the government also asked US District Judge Christopher Cooper for a partial summary judgment regarding the amount involved in the fraud case, which government lawyers put at $32,267,269.85. That's the amount the government said the USPS team billed the US Postal Service in 41 installments between June 2000 and October 2004.

The government is arguing that the team violated its sponsorship contract by doping and that it committed fraud by submitting false claims for payment to the USPS while violating that contract. Under the False Claims Act, damages could be tripled to nearly $100 million.

Armstrong is not the only defendant in the case, which was initially filed by Floyd Landis and then joined by the government. Tailwind Sports is also named in the suit, along with Johan Bruyneel. Tailwind was dissolved in 2007, however, and Bruyneel, a Belgian citizen, has not responded to the suit.

That could leave Armstrong responsible for the entire amount of any judgement, but his attorneys argued in a 59-page motion filed Wednesday that "Armstrong was never a party to those agreements; he did not read or sign them. He never submitted a claim for payment under either sponsorship agreement."

Armstrong's attorneys also argued that the US Postal Service suffered no damages because they got more than their money's worth from the cycling team sponsorship.

Armstrong took seven consecutive Tour de France wins, but the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of those results in 2012 after a extensive investigation into doping on the USPS team.

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