Armstrong could face litigation now that he has admitted to dopi - WNCN: News, Weather

Armstrong could face litigation now that he has admitted to doping

Posted:

By admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he doped during his professional cycling career, Lance Armstrong potentially opened himself up to a stream of litigation that could lighten his wallet for years.

And then there's the big question: Will his mea culpa result in the reopening of a criminal investigation by the U.S. government?

Some legal experts believe the disillusionment and anger now directed at Armstrong will force the government to re-examine its evidence in light of his admissions, but others say revisiting the criminal case is unlikely.

"There are no formal guidelines on reopening one, and the discretion is left to the prosecutor," said Matthew Levine, a former federal prosecutor and a white-collar defense attorney in New York. "But generally there's a lot of pressure not to reopen, especially where the declination has been made public. It does happen, but it's quite rare."

Last February, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced they were dropping their investigation into Armstrong. A federal grand jury heard testimony from the cyclist's former teammates and associates that could have helped prove Armstrong and some of his fellow cyclists violated federal conspiracy, fraud or racketeering charges.

No reason was given for the decision. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined comment Friday.

In the portion of his interview with Winfrey that aired Thursday, Armstrong refused to implicate anyone else. Winfrey asked Armstrong if he felt victorious when the government declined to file charges against him.

"It's hard to define victory," Armstrong said. "But I thought I was out of the woods."

Unlike fellow sports superstars such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who faced criminal charges, Armstrong never spoke with federal authorities or testified before Congress, either or which could have led to obstruction or making false statements charges.

Clemens was acquitted last year on six counts that he lied and obstructed Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice in December 2011 and sentenced to 30 days' home detention. His case is under appeal.

Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, is convinced the criminal case will be reopened.

Because of a fraud, "he became very famous, very rich," Keane said. "The idea of him getting a pass on it is going to be looked at with a degree of there's a double standard here. It's something (the government) takes very seriously and they want to discourage people from doing it."

If prosecutors try reopening the case, they do face a hurdle, possibly one that hampered the initial investigation. Any charges may have fallen outside the statute of limitations, but some legal observers said there may be some wiggle room.

"On the criminal side, there are certainly timing issues, but I've never met a prosecutor who didn't try to find a creative way around a statute of limitations," said Marc Mukasey, also a former federal prosecutor and New York-based defense attorney.

Most legal experts agree, however, that Armstrong's confession will expose him to various lawsuits. He is worth an estimated $100 million.

Already, the London-based Sunday Times has filed a suit to recoup about $500,000 it paid Armstrong to settle a libel case. Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a bonus it promised for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.

Most damaging could be a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong by former teammate Floyd Landis, who claims the seven-time Tour de France winner defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs.

The suit could require Armstrong to return substantial sponsorship fees and pay a hefty fine.

Justice Department officials were likely to join the suit, an attorney who works outside the government told The Associated Press earlier this week. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.

Levine, the former federal prosecutor, said Armstrong's lawyers would likely push for a "non-prosecution" agreement in settlement talks, one that essentially promises the government won't ever charge the cyclist in connection with the doping probe.

A potential deal also may require Armstrong to provide details about those who were running the doping program, but any revelation might not go very far, Levine said.

"Even if they do get him to cooperate, he's damaged goods," Levine said. "Who is going to believe this guy?"

 

  • SportsMore>>

  • UNC investigating possible football hazing incident

    UNC investigating possible football hazing incident

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 8:53 PM EDT2014-08-27 00:53:35 GMT
    Yahoo Sports reported that a redshirt freshman sustained a concussion during a physical altercation with multiple teammates in his room at the A-Loft hotel in Chapel Hill.Yahoo Sports reported that a redshirt freshman sustained a concussion during a physical altercation with multiple teammates in his room at the A-Loft hotel in Chapel Hill.
    UNC is investigating a possible hazing incident with the football team.
    UNC is investigating a possible hazing incident with the football team.
  • NFL's Gordon has DWI hearing moved to Nov.

    NFL's Gordon has DWI hearing moved to Nov.

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:00:53 GMT
    Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has his hearing on a drunken-driving charge in Raleigh has been rescheduled for November.
    Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has his hearing on a drunken-driving charge in Raleigh has been rescheduled for November.
  • USC star injures ankles in leap to save nephew

    USC star injures ankles in leap to save nephew

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-08-26 15:48:55 GMT
    A University of Southern California football player jumped from a second-floor balcony to help save a nephew who was struggling in a pool below, according to USCTrojans.com.
    A University of Southern California football player jumped from a second-floor balcony to help save a nephew who was struggling in a pool below, according to USCTrojans.com.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:42:52 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
  • How to report drivers who pass stopped NC school buses

    How to report drivers who pass stopped NC school buses

    Monday, August 25 2014 5:25 PM EDT2014-08-25 21:25:40 GMT
    Thousands of motorists pass stopped school buses every day, and you can do something about it.The North Carolina Highway Patrol has a form for people who see a motorist pass a stopped school bus.Highway Patrol form to report drivers who pass school busesUnder North Carolina law, G.S. 20-217, drivers going either direction must stop when a school bus is stopped to let children off. Drivers are not supposed to continue until the bus has completed dropping the children off and begun to move agai...
    Thousands of motorists pass stopped school buses every day, and you can do something about it.The North Carolina Highway Patrol has a form for people who see a motorist pass a stopped school bus.Highway Patrol form to report drivers who pass school busesUnder North Carolina law, G.S. 20-217, drivers going either direction must stop when a school bus is stopped to let children off. Drivers are not supposed to continue until the bus has completed dropping the children off and begun to move agai...
  • NC State students develop nail polish to battle date rape

    NC State students develop nail polish to battle date rape

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:31:05 GMT
    Four N.C. State students teamed up to invent a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date-rape drugs.
    Four N.C. State students teamed up to invent a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date-rape drugs.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.