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U.S. Justice Department joining lawsuit against Lance Armstrong

February 22, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Lance Armstrong now faces legal challenges from the U.S. Justice Department, which joined a lawsuit against the disgraced cyclist on Friday.
Lance Armstrong now faces legal challenges from the U.S. Justice Department,… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

Lance Armstrong is now in trouble with the U.S. government.

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit filed two years ago by another disgraced cyclist, Floyd Landis, MSNBC.com was first to report on Friday.

The government could claim that it was defrauded by Armstrong, who denied using performing enhancing drugs while riding for the U.S. Postal Service team in the Tour de France but has since admitted to cheating in such a manner.

The government, which has a strict ban on illegal drugs, paid at least $30 million to sponsor Armstrong's racing teams.

But Armstrong could claim his contract with the team did not specify a ban on blood doping and that he did not sign a direct agreement with the U.S. Postal Service prohibiting the practice.

Robert Luskin, an attorney for Armstrong, said in a statement Friday that the Postal Service didn't suffer any losses deserving of compensation while sponsoring the cyclist.

"Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged," Luskin said. "The Postal's Service's own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship -- benefits totaling more than $100 million."

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Lance Armstrong declines to cooperate with USADA

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