Report: Justice Department considers joining suit against Lance Armstrong
The Department of Justice is weighing whether to join a lawsuit seeking to reclaim sponsorship money given to Lance Armstrong, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, following Armstrong’s reported confession of doping to Oprah Winfrey in an interview.
The Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported that Justice Department officials are “recommending” that it join the federal whistleblower suit, which was filed by former teammate Floyd Landis in 2010.
The Justice Department has until Thursday to decide whether it wants to join the suit, which claims Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by accepting sponsorship money from the United States Postal Service. The contract with the USPS prohibited riders from taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Under the sponsorship contract, the USPS provided $30.6 million from 2001 to 2004, according to the Journal. He could be liable for damages of nearly $100 million under the False Claims Act.
Armstrong confessed to Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, the Associated Press reported. The interview is set to be broadcast on Thursday.
The AP also reported that Armstrong stopped at the Livestrong Foundation before his interview with Winfrey, telling staff members he was sorry.