According to an article published by USA Today, US District Judge Christopher Cooper, has ruled that Lance Armstrong must avail himself to three more hours of testimony under oath.
The government previously questioned Armstrong for seven hours during a pretrial deposition last month. But, according to attorneys for the Justice Department, it wasn’t enough time to cover all the relevant material. Therefore, they petitioned the court to reopen Armstrong’s deposition, despite protests of harassment from his attorneys.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper issued his ruling.
“Having reviewed the July 23 deposition transcript, the Court agrees that the Government is entitled to reopen Armstrong’s deposition,” Cooper wrote. “The Government has identified several lines of inquiry that it was not able to fully explore in the first seven hours, most notably Armstrong’s own prior statements addressing allegations that he had used PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). These statements — many of them unequivocal denials — are relevant to the Government’s theory that Armstrong concealed his drug use from (the U.S. Postal Service). The Government is entitled to explore whether Armstrong will seek to disavow or qualify those earlier assertions at trial.”
This next deposition, is part the government’s $100 million civil fraud case against the former cyclist on behalf of the USPS, which paid more than $30 million to sponsor Armstrong’s cycling team from 1998 through 2004. The government accuses Armstrong of unjust enrichment, arguing that his cycling team violated its sponsorship by doping and concealed such violations in order to continue receiving payments.
Armstrong’s attorneys had previously fought the government’s request for additional time to question him, stating that the government was harassing him with irrelevant questions, including queries about his intimate relationships, personal finances and whether his mother knew he had doped before 2010.
“The transcript of Armstrong’s deposition vividly demonstrates that further questioning is gratuitous,” his attorneys argued in court documents filed last week. “Plaintiffs deposed Armstrong for over seven hours. The government asked, and Armstrong answered, over 1,600 questions, creating a transcript of 385 pages of testimony. Contrary to its representation, the government has already asked Armstrong about each and every one of the topics plaintiffs claim they were ‘not able to cover during (his) deposition. ”
Regardless, Judge Cooper still granted the government additional time to question Armstrong, as well as counsel for his former teammate, Floyd Landis, two hours to question him under oath as part of a pretrial deposition. If the lawsuit succeeds, Landis stands to receive a portion of the damages, as the plaintiff who originally filed the whistleblower suit on the government’s behalf in 2010.
Recently, a certain portions of Armstrong’s deposition has been entered into the public court record, as part of the government’s argument for more time.
In response, Armstrong’s attorneys said, the government has wasted “an enormous amount of record time establishing facts Armstrong has already admitted publicly” – painting the image, that the government case is baseless and designed merely to harass their client.
Indeed, they continue to argue, that even though Armstrong doped in cycling, the US Postal Service received more than its money’s worth out of its sponsorship contract with the embroiled cyclist.
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