Weisel: Armstrong allegations not factual

The attorney of former US Postal Service team owner Thom Weisel has responded to Lance Armstrong's testimony that Weisel knew of the doping that was going on in the team, calling the allegations "not factual".

While Weisel himself refused to speak to Cyclingnews, his lawyer, Robert Sacks of Sullivan & Cromwell told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Mr. Weisel unequivocally denies being aware that Mr. Armstrong and other cyclists were doping. He has said that before and continues to say it now."

"These are not factual allegations," Sacks said. "If you read Armstrong's statement, he sensed Mr. Weisel must have known about it, but no facts were offered. Not him, not Landis, not Tyler Hamilton have offered any actual facts. If the riders can't offer the facts, then they don't exist."

Weisel has been named as a co-defendant with Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong's former manager Bill Stapleton and Bart Knaggs in a federal "whistleblower" lawsuit taken by Floyd Landis. Under the federal False Claims act, citizens can file suit on behalf of the government against individuals who have defrauded the government. Armstrong admitted to doping while under contract with the team sponsored by the US Postal Service, a contract which included stipulations against doping.

In a separate case in November, Armstrong claimed, "Mr. Weisel was aware of doping by the USPS Team and in professional cycling in general."

Both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis have made similar claims, and former team soigneur Emma O'Reilly previously testified that Weisel was in the room when the management came up with the backdated prescription for a topical cream to cover up evidence of cortisone use in a doping control in the 1999 Tour de France.

According to the complaint, the false claims act can be used if an individual has actual knowledge of fraud, or "acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information", or "acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information, and no proof of specific intent to defraud is required."

The case, under the act, could cost the defendants up to three times the total value of the sponsorship by US Postal Service, which has been estimated to be $100 million.

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