Armstrong aiming to have Qui Tam case dismissed over claims that investigators leaked information
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Armstrong aiming to have Qui Tam case dismissed over claims that investigators leaked information

by VeloNation Press at 6:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Former pro rider battling to avoid off multi-million dollar payout

Lance ArmstrongCurrently trying to fend off a looming Qui Tam case which could see he and others forced to pay up to 100 million dollars in damages, Lance Armstrong and his legal team are trying to fight back with claims that confidential information was leaked to the press.

The allegations, which relate to the time after Floyd Landis spoke out in early 2010 about his, Armstrong’s and the US Postal Service team’s doping, see a previous claim resurrected. In July 2011 a complaint was filed with the US district court in Los Angeles by Armstrong’s lawyers, who complained then about what they said were leaks from the investigators.

In order to support their case, they listed more than a dozen articles in media outlets over a fourteen month period as being proof of that.

They said that a judge should order the government to explain why it should not be held in contempt, and said that one option would be to demand journalists reveal their sources. They claimed that the alleged leaks showed that there was “an underlying partisanship inherent in government agents,” and accused the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and CBS's "60 Minutes" of reporting illegally leaked information.

However the claims didn’t take account of the fact that others may have been behind the leaks; while it is not permitted for federal agents to speak with the media, those who have themselves given evidence are permitted to confirm their submissions if they so wish.

It means that former team-mates of Armstrong, who testified against him to the federal investigators and later to USADA, may have been the sources.

While the federal investigation was unexpectedly shut down early in 2012, the USADA case continued and ultimately led to Armstrong deciding not to contest the claims against him. He received a lifetime ban and also had all of his results stripped since August 1998. These included his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong is now facing a Qui Tam whisteblower case launched by Landis and joined by the US Government. It seeks to show that he and others connected with the US Postal Service team committed fraud against the government company by using sponsorship money while also utilising banned substances, an act which contravened the agreement in place to race clean.

The US Government is claiming that the actions broke the terms of the original contract and has also caused damage to the US Postal Service in terms of negative publicity.

According to USA Today, the attorneys representing Armstrong have resurrected the previous claims of leaks, claiming that federal agent Jeff Novitzky and others gave sensitive information to the media. They want the federal government to hand over information and documents, including wiretaps.

Armstrong attorney Elliot Peters wrote to the US Justice Department last week complaining about Novitzky and also about Landis and USADA, accusing the latter two of also leaking information.

“It is clear from recently published journalistic works that both (Landis) and USADA have widely disseminated information pertaining to this case that they may possess,” stated Peters. “We believe that Agent Novitzky has done so covertly for some time. We do not know what information you and your colleagues have disseminated.”

One of the goals that Armstrong’s attorneys are trying to achieve is to limit the amount of times he will have to answer questions under oath in pretrial depositions.

He is facing such questioning in this case and also potentially in three fraud cases. They are also demanding the release of information gathered by the government against him.

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