- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Disgraced bicyclist and admitted doper Lance Armstrong beat back a lawsuit filed by whistleblower Floyd Landis that accused him of defrauding his sports sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service, with this defense: The government agency knew I was doping all along.

Mr. Armstrong stands accused of taking the Postal Service’s sponsorship dollars under false premises — that of a drug-free athlete. Landis, who lost his own Tour de France title because of doping, is a key witness in the fraud suit and could receive up to 25 percent of the $120 million that the government is seeking, the Daily Mail reported.

Armstrong’s attorneys, however, said Landis is a past drug user and that should disqualify him from seeking damages. The attorneys also said in a CBS report that “although the government now pretends to be aggrieved by these allegations, its actions at the time are far more telling. Did it immediately fire the Postal Service team [when  Armstong’s doping was revealed]? Did it suspend the team pending an investigation? … It did not.”

The attorneys for Armstrong said the government knew about the doping — but willingly continued to endorse and sponsor him. Their question: So how could they now claim they were defrauded?

“The government wanted a winner and all the publicity, exposure and acclaim that goes along with being a sponsor,” the attorneys argued, as the Daily Mail reported. “It got exactly what it bargained for.”

Armstrong admitted to doping in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey. That was months after he was charged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with cheating and was stripped of his Tour de France titles.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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