The government’s legal theory in joining the lawsuit is that when Armstrong agreed to race for the U.S. Postal Service team a decade ago in the Tour de France, he defrauded the government, violating its strict ban on illegal drugs, all the while claiming he did not use them.
Though the government’s action presents a serious new legal threat to Armstrong, the Justice Department case is not foolproof: Legal experts say Armstrong could argue that his contract with the team owners never explicitly prohibited blood doping, and he could claim that he never signed any agreement directly with the Postal Service that banned the practice.
But if the government wins, Armstrong could face huge fines, because the Postal Service paid at least $30 million to sponsor his racing teams.
Armstrong’s attorney, Robert Luskin, said in a statement Friday that the Postal Service had no losses deserving of compensation.
“Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged,” Luskin said. “The Postal’s Services own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship — benefits totaling more than $100 million.”
Considering that Armstrong actually admitted to all of this would seemingly bolster the two-year-old suit.