Lance Armstrong's legal team has requested that Greg LeMond and Betsy Andreu be excluded from providing evidence as part of the US federal government's fraud case against him, which is due to go to trial in November.
Armstrong's attorneys are also seeking to prevent USADA's 2012 Reasoned Decision, which detailed his doping and saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France wins, from being presented as evidence in the case.
The federal government is suing Armstrong on behalf on the US Postal Service, which is seeking the return of the $32.3 million that Armstrong's team received in sponsorship between 2000 and 2004. The final figure could be tripled under the False Claims Act if it is decreed that the sponsorship was obtained fraudulently due to Armstrong's doping. As the whistle blower in the federal case, Floyd Landis stands to receive a portion of the damages if the government's case is successful.
According to USA Today (opens in new tab), Armstrong's attorneys from the Keker Van Nest & Peter firm have filed documents objecting to LeMond and Andreu serving as witnesses in November's trial. LeMond and Andreu were among those to accuse Armstrong of doping long before his belated confession in January 2013.
"While LeMond is well-versed in the prevalence of doping throughout the sport during the relevant time period (1997-2004) and still owns the record for the fastest time trial in Tour de France history, he has no personal knowledge regarding Armstrong, the USPS sponsorship agreement, or invoices submitted for sponsorship payments," Armstrong's legal team wrote of LeMond.
A similar objection was lodged against Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong's former teammate Frankie. "She has been and remains a long-time vocal critic of Armstrong, appearing on television whenever possible to criticize him, and attributing to Armstrong her husband's lack of greater success in his career after being a cyclist," Armstrong's attorneys wrote. "She has no relevant testimony to offer and she should not be permitted to testify in this case, or use it as a soapbox for impugning Armstrong's character."
Betsy Andreu rejected the characterisation, saying that she had rejected many requests to appear on television to discuss Armstrong. "They must be worried about the case if they want to limit me, a stay-at-home mom Mr. Armstrong is obsessed with, from testifying against him," Andreu told USA Today. "I was drawn into this mess because I refused to be part of the Armstrong lie. I cannot impugn Mr. Armstrong's character. He does that himself by his actions."
Armstrong's lawyers are also seeking to have USADA's Reasoned Decision excluded from the trial, claiming that the report, which includes damning testimony from former teammates, contained "prejudicial bias". Similarly, Armstrong's legal team have contended that questions should not be permitted on his car crash in Aspen in 2014, when Armstrong hit two parked cars and initially allowed his girlfriend Anna Hansen to take the blame. Armstrong subsequently pleaded guilty to careless driving, and the government attorneys have contended that the incident demonstrates a pattern of deceit.
According to USA Today, Armstrong's lawyers have argued that the case should not become "a referendum on unrelated behaviour", and demanded that the trial focus on Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs – and his denials – during the period of US Postal's sponsorship.
"All other attacks on Armstrong's character that have surfaced during discovery, including but not limited to his personal relationships with women, whether or not he used PEDs during his comeback in 2009 and 2010 (Armstrong insists he didn't), responses to the USADA's investigation and ultimate ban of Armstrong, and his encounter with cyclist Tyler Hamilton in 2011 at the Aspen Restaurant Cache Cache, should be excluded," Armstrong's attorneys wrote.
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