WASHINGTON — Lance Armstrong, the former champion cyclist, asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit claiming he defrauded the United States government by using banned substances in violation of his team’s contract with the U.S. Postal Service.
Armstrong, in papers submitted today in federal court in Washington, said the complaint filed against him under the False Claims Act by the U.S. Justice Department is barred by a six- year statute of limitations and that the false statements claim isn’t supported by the law. He’s also seeking dismissal of a second complaint brought by his ex-teammate, Floyd Landis.
“The government waited over a decade to file suit against Lance Armstrong for one reason and one reason only: It got everything it bargained for from Armstrong and his cycling team,” John Keker, a lawyer for Armstrong, said in the filing, which referred to “tens of millions of dollars’ worth” of publicity for the Postal Service.
The government, which joined the Landis suit in April, alleges the United States paid Tailwind Sports Corp. and its predecessor companies about $40 million through the team’s contracts with the U.S. Postal Service from 1998 through 2004. The contracts required the team to refrain from using substances banned by the sport’s governing bodies.
Tailwind used Postal Service sponsorship fees to pay Armstrong’s salary of $17.9 million during those years, according to the complaint. The U.S. government seeks triple damages.
Tailwind and Johan Bruyneel, who was director of the Tailwind team, filed requests today to throw out the case. Bruyneel said he would join Armstrong’s motion to dismiss.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen in Washington, declined to comment on the filings. The government’s response is due in September.
The case is U.S., ex rel. Floyd Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corp., 10-cv-00976, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).