Armstrong seeks to dismiss federal whistleblower case

A whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis in 2010 and joined by the US Justice Department this year is unlikely to be dismissed by a Federal US judge besides facing pressure from Lance Armstrong

Judge Robert L. Wilkins commented during the nearly three-hour-long hearing that he is unlikely to dismiss all defendants in the False Claim Acts that include Armstrong, former RadioShack and US Postal team director Johan Bruyneel and team management company Tailwind Sports.

The hearing was held following a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case and follows the actions of Landis's attorneys who invoked a wartime law in a bid to extend the statute of limitations as questions arose over whether the government's lawsuit was legitimate.

Under the False Claims Act, the government must file a lawsuit within six years of a violation, or within three years of when the facts are known or reasonably should have been known by the responsible US official.

As the US Government became aware of Armstrong's cheating in June 2010 when Landis filed his lawsuit they acted within the three-year window.

The Justice Department claimed the reputation of the US Postal Service was tainted by Armstrong's confession that he used performance enhancing drugs on the way to winning the Tour de France for seven consecutive years.

US Postal contributed around $40 million as title sponsor of Armstrong's team between 1998 and 2004. According to the US government's complaint it is believed that $18 million went to Armstrong.

Armstrong's lawyer Elliot Peters argued that the Postal Service should have known back in 2000 as it was aware that French authorities had begun an investigation into allegations that the team was doping when its sponsorship agreement came up for renewal.

"They did absolutely nothing to investigate" said Peters.

Justice Department lawyer Robert Chandler said the mere allegation that Armstrong was cheating wasn't sufficient to launch a government investigation, adding that many high-profile athletes are accused of using PEDs.

"[Armstrong] was bound to be accused of doping by someone" said Chandler.

Wilkins stated that he will hand down the rulings of the lawsuit in 30 days time and is unlikely to dismiss all defendants in the case.




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