USA Wants Another Shot|at Lance Armstrong


     (CN) – Lance Armstrong admitted he used prohibited drugs 22 years ago, before his treatment for testicular cancer, according to newly released deposition testimony in a $100 million whistleblower lawsuit against him.
     Citing testimony from Armstrong’s most recent deposition, the federal government last week asked for four more hours to continue deposing the cyclist.
     During a seven-hour deposition in Denver in July, Armstrong said his use of the stimulant Synacthen in 1993 is the earliest use of a performance-enhancing drug he can remember. Synacthen stimulates the adrenal glands to release corticosteroids.
     Former teammate Floyd Landis sued Armstrong, former U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team manager Johan Bruyneel and Armstrong’s management company Tailwind Sports in 2010, under the False Claims Act. The United States joined the lawsuit three years later, after Armstrong admitted he used steroids and blood doping to win his record seven consecutive Tour de France victories. He was banned from the sport for life and stripped of his victories.
     Landis claims Bruyneel knew the team was using banned drugs and that Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, among others, knowingly flouted USPS sponsorship agreements signed in 1995 and 2000. Landis could receive up to 30 percent of any recovery as a whistleblower.
     Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win and banned from the sport for two years after he tested positive for banned substances.
     The federal government asked District of Columbia Federal Court on Aug. 5 for permission to depose Armstrong for four more hours. It claims Armstrong’s attorneys “repeatedly and improperly” butted into the line of questioning.
     “More than once during the first seven hours of his deposition [in July], Armstrong sought to minimize or explain away his most incriminating prior statements,” the motion for additional time states. “The transcript from the first seven hours of Armstrong’s deposition in this case will show that the government proceeded as expeditiously as possible to discover Armstrong’s explanations for his many relevant prior statements. However, the government was not able to discover Armstrong’s explanations for many additional relevant prior statements.”
     The federal government wants to ask Armstrong about his most recent deposition in a lawsuit filed against him by Dallas-based insurer SCA Promotions . SCA refused to pay him bonuses in 2003 based on its suspicion that Armstrong cheated. Armstrong sued and won a $7.5 million settlement in arbitration in 2006. SCA sued Armstrong after he admitted to doping in 2013, and an arbitration panel then ordered him to pay $10 million in sanctions.
     In the Aug. 5 memorandum of law and request for four more hours to depose Armstrong, the federal government also seeks information on his financial records and dealings with Michele Ferrari, an Italian doctor who was banned for cycling for life for doping violations.
     “First, because this Court had not ruled on Armstrong’s protective order motion at the time his deposition commenced, the government was not able to ask Armstrong about bank records showing payments to Michele Ferrari, and others,” the motion states. “The government also needs additional time to explore the current market value of his sponsorship services (viz., after the doping revelations), the circumstances of Armstrong’s separation from his former sponsors, his lawsuits against his accusers (including David Walsh), and his time outside the country between 2000 and 2010.”
     Walsh, a sportswriter with the Sunday Times, was the journalistic battering ram whose stories cracked open Armstrong’s doping system. He revealed Armstrong’s association with Ferrari in a Sunday Times story in 2001, after a two-year investigation, then co-authored the 2003 book L.A. Confidentiel, after which many cycling insiders considered Armstrong’s fall inevitable. Armstrong called him “the little troll.” Walsh’s third book on Armstrong, “Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong,” (2012) is being made into a movie, “The Program,” directed by Stephen Frears, due for release this fall.
     Armstrong’s attorney Elliott R. Peters, with Keker Van Nest in San Francisco, instructed Armstrong not to answer questions about what the cyclist’s speaking fees in 2004 were “because you’re just harassing him at this point,” according to the deposition transcript.
     Armstrong responded by asking: “Can’t we all just get along? I don’t know what it was. I don’t recall.”

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