US suit seeking $100 million from Lance Armstrong heads to trial

Lance Armstrong with Oprah Winfrey

A federal judge on Monday rejected cyclist Lance Armstrong's attempt to knock out a US government lawsuit to collect $100 million it says he owes taxpayers for lost promotional value after he admitted doping while sponsored by the mail service.

Armstrong had attempted to have the suit thrown out, but U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper sided with the government.

The trial is likely to be heard in front of a jury.

They said that the athlete defrauded the government by accepting millions in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service when he was doping to earn his Tour de France victories.

The US Postal Service, who sponsored Armstrong's team from 2000 to 2004, claimed it would not have done so if it had known the team was using banned substances and methods to win seven consecutive Tours de France, and alleged brand and reputational damage.

Lance Armstrong led the United States postal team to a number of Tour de France victories.

In 2013, Armstrong confessed to knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Cooper agreed with evidence that the USPS "received substantial benefits as a direct result of the sponsorship", citing internal USPS communications and valuation studies by third parties.

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Armstrong had been one of the most popular sports figures on the planet before his cheating confession.

Landis, the former Armstrong teammate who filed the initial claim, could receive up to 25 percent of any damages awarded in the case.

The 2015 loss forced Armstrong to pay $10 million in damages to promotions company SCA for what they called an "unparalleled pageant of worldwide perjury, fraud and conspiracy", wrote US News.

Elliot R. Peters, an attorney for Armstrong, told the Post,"A$3 s the Court's opinion reveals, there is no actual evidence of any quantifiable financial harm to the USPS".

The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington sets the almost 7-year-old case on course for a jury trial. If the government's case succeeds, Landis acting as the whistleblower stands to get a cut of the damages.

"Landis attorney Paul D. Scott said he was delighted" to see the case move toward trial.

"So the government may now proceed to a trial that, as a practical matter, it can not win", he said.

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