Landis' whistle-blower suit against Armstrong rumbles on

Floyd Landis' whistle-blower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong whereby the former alleges that the U.S. Postal Service, an independent agency within the federal government, was defrauded has once again gained momentum after it was first launched in September 2010.

While some details of the actual case remain under seal, information regarding (opens in new tab) U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General subpoena of Armstrong on June 10, 2011 has been moved into the public domain as has a United States District Court decision to deny (opens in new tab) Armstrong' s Motion to Seal court records over the case on December 6, 2012.

The initial subpoena required Armstrong to provide documents relating to his interest in Tailwind Sports LLC, his payments to "certain persons" as well as "documents reflecting Mr. Armstrong's use of substances or methods that are banned from use by professional cyclists."

The U.S. Postal Service sponsored the Tailwind Sports-owned U.S. Postal Service Team between 1996 and 2004 at a cost of approximately $40 million. The sponsorship agreement stipulated that use of banned substances or methods were prohibited and that if such a violation occurred, "immediate action" had to be taken.

Counsel for Armstrong, John W. Keker responded to the subpoena on June 16, 2011 and invoked the former-seven-time Tour de France winner's right to the Fifth Amendment - that he did not have to testify against himself in court. On July 7, Keker followed that with another response arguing that the Food and Drug Administration investigation led by Jeff Novitzsky "had been plagued by rampant leaking".

The following week, Keker was informed by the government that Armstrong's obligation to answer the subpoena stood, urging a reconsideration of his position in order to "avoid the need for enforcement proceedings." On July 20, the government implored Keker to "expressly invoke any objections to the subpoena" however no response has been forthcoming.

More information regarding the case is expected after United States Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson ruled last week that Armstrong's Motion to Seal after a hearing was held on November 20, 2012, be denied. It was further ordered that all documents relating to the case filed under seal be made public.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins - as well as other titles won from August 1, 1998 - and given a lifetime ban after USADA sanctioned him in August on the grounds of several doping violations. The decision was later ratified by the UCI.

 

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