USA Today reports that Lance Armstrong’s attorneys have asked a Federal judge to exclude three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond and Betsy Andreu from the highly anticipated civil fraud trial.
The case will go to trial this fall. The U.S. government is suing the 45-year-old for nearly $100 million in damages. A jury will decide whether Armstrong and company engaged in “fraudulent inducement” when it re-signed USPS as a sponsor in 2000. For its part, Armstrong’s legal team says the benefits of the USPS sponsorship exceeded the $32 million it paid.
The government’s suit alleges that Armstrong, the team’s owner Tailwind Sports, and Johan Bruyneel violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by collecting sponsorship funds from the U.S. Postal Service “while actively concealing the team’s violations of the agreements’ anti-doping provisions.” The suit was originally brought by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis in 2010, and was joined by the Feds four months later.
Armstrong’s legal team says Andreu’s testimony would be biased. Her husband, Frankie, raced with Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service team. A longtime Armstrong critic, Andreu and her husband testified under oath in 2006 that Armstrong was doping as early as 1996.
Similarly, the defense claims that LeMond would come to the courtroom with an agenda. In 2015, the former champion said: “I don’t know any other cyclist who participated in that level of deception. It’s unfortunate.” Plus, Armstrong’s lawyers claim that LeMond’s testimony should be disallowed due to his lack of specific knowledge vis-a-vis the U.S. Postal Service team contract.
As expected, Armstrong’s lawyers are doing everything possible to limit damaging testimony. The team also asked Judge Christopher Cooper to exclude USADA’s “Reasoned Decision,” disparaging it as hearsay. Armstrong’s team also wants to keep a 2014 car crash off the record in the Federal trial.