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Judge says Lance Armstrong must answer questions in dope fraud suit

Insurance company is suing the former cyclist for $3 million it paid in bonuses

Photo courtesy of The New York Daily News

A judge has ordered former Tour de France champ and admitted doper Lance Armstrong to answer questions in court about his use of illegal substances to give him an advantage in races. If he talks, it will be his first sworn testimony about his performance-enhancing drug use.

The request for information comes from Acceptance Insurance Holding, which is suing Armstrong in an effort to recover $3 million it paid to the seven-time Tour de France winner in bonuses from 1999 to 2001. Acceptance is trying to prove that Armstrong and people close to him conspired for many years to cover up the cyclist’s illegal activity. It wants to know when Armstrong’s friends and business associates—including his ex-wife Kristin Armstrong, team officials, Armstrong’s lawyers and Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union—first learned of his drug use.

Armstrong’s legal team says Acceptance’s request is overreaching because the cyclist has already admitted to cheating. They claim the insurance company’s request for information is nothing more than a “harassing, malicious ... fishing expedition” intended to “make a spectacle of Armstrong’s doping.”

But Texas Judge Tim Sulak of the Travis County District Court disagrees. Last week, he ordered Armstrong to answer Acceptance’s questions in written documents and provide them to the court by the end of this month. A trial date is set for April 2014.

Armstrong’s high-profile illegal use of performance enhancing drugs has led to myriad legal ramifications. In April, the U.S. government sued the cyclist for defrauding the U.S. Postal Service, which paid his team $40 million in sponsorship money between 1998 and 2004, by taking its money while disobeying the rules of professional cycling.

Read more about this story in the Washington Post.


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Cathleen Flahardy

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