Landis reaches deal with U.S. Attorney’s office, must repay donations
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Landis reaches deal with U.S. Attorney’s office, must repay donations

by Shane Stokes at 8:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Former US Postal rider due in court Friday

Floyd LandisFormer top US Pro Floyd Landis has learned he will avoid jail time and a large fine if he can repay those who contributed to the defence fund fuelling to his battle to keep his 2006 Tour de France title.

Landis is due to be arraigned Friday morning in U.S. District Court in San Diego in relation to the charges connected a count of wire fraud; this related to the Floyd Fairness Fund, which was set up in late 2006. Its aim was to help him cover the costs of his legal challenge to his positive test at that year’s Tour de France, and drew in part on donations from members of the public.

According to ESPN, financial records for the FFF showed that 1,500 donors gave a total of $478,354.

A deal hammered out by Landis and his lawyer Leo Cunningham with the U.S. Attorney's Office has led to a deferred prosecution agreement; in plain terms, the case will be dismissed if he can pay back the donors within three years.

“I'm glad to have a concrete procedure for repayment in place,” he told ESPN.com on Thursday. “For me, taking the step of making restitution to the donors who were misled back then is one more step in righting the wrong choices I made and allows me to turn the page and to focus on what's next in life for me.

“I can never undo what happened, but to the extent that there are ways such as this that I can try to rectify things, I'll be more able to focus on the future and living an honest life after having done them.”

Landis has said that some of the larger donors have indicated that they do not wish to be repaid.

His total legal costs of fighting his case are understood to have approached $2 million. His bid to clear his name of the Tour de France doping charges was unsuccessful.

The terms of the deal will see the donors reimbursed by the court; after that, Landis has three years to repay the sum – or a portion of it, depending on what he earns - to the latter.

If the deal had not been reached, he could have faced up to twenty years in prison, a quarter-million dollar fine and also had to repay the donors.

Previously, Landis went all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport with his defence. He lost his case there but continued to say he was innocent. However he made an about turn in the spring of 2010 when he met with USADA on April 20th, admitting using banned substances and, it is believed, also talking about widespread doping on the US Postal Service team.

Ten days later he sent an email to a number of organisations and individuals in cycling, laying out specific admissions and allegations. These were later repeated in emails made public in May of that year.

That in turn led to a federal investigation into the team that was unexpectedly dropped on February 3rd by United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr, much to the surprise of federal agents who had been gathering evidence,

USADA took up the reins, investigating Armstrong and others in relation to doping suspicions.

He and five others were eventually charged with a number of offences on June 29th.

Armstrong tried to overcome the USADA investigation via a federal court in Texas, but the judge Sam Sparks dismissed the case last week.

Armstrong has until later today to either accept USADA’s charges or to decide to go to arbitration. A statement is expected this evening.

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