Judge Limits Doping Inquiries By Landis In Armstrong Case

A federal judge has decided to put restrictions on the number of questions Floyd Landis can ask Lance Armstrong regarding details of his doping in cycling.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that Landis instead of requiring that Armstrong answer all 435 requests by Landis for information shall instead narrow this list of requests to a maximum of 50. This ruling was issued by Judge Cooper late Tuesday after attorneys for Landis and Armstrong argued their cases against each other this week in court documents.

Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis

Floyd Landis had sent a 40-page document that asked Armstrong to identify in writing every doping method he ever used in every race Armstrong participated in from 1998 to 2004. This document included 435 requests for information about specific drugs and races. The numbers of questions were termed "abusive" by attorneys of Armstrong who protested. Armstrong’s attorneys argued to the court that their client should not be required to respond to Landis’ hundreds of harassing requests for admission. In reply, the attorneys of Landis argued that the questions were indeed relevant to the case and remarked that the admissions of Lance Armstrong about doping so far have carefully orchestrated and have not included relevant details.

The Judge also ruled that Floyd Landis should provide his federal and Connecticut income-tax returns in unredacted form for 2012 and an email from one of the former attorneys of Landis. Armstrong requested the documents that are related to Landis' own fraud case involving false doping details. During his march to victory in the 2006 Tour de France, Landis had denied doping despite testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Landis even raised money from money to pay for his legal defense with a “Floyd Fairness Fund.” In 2010, Landis admitted to doping and was prosecuted for fraud by the federal government. As a result, Landis entered a deferred prosecution agreement in 2012 that required him to pay back $478,000 to the donors he defrauded. Court records filed last month revealed that Landis paid back $10,000 but don’t indicate any further payment.

The e-mail being sought by Lance Armstrong and his attorneys included a declaration that a one of these donors was asked by a former attorney for Landis to help reduce the amount of restitution Landis would be required to pay, according to the judge’s ruling. Cooper wrote the Court agrees that, as with Mr. Landis’s tax returns, learning this donor’s identity would enable Armstrong to explore (Landis’) ability and willingness to repay the Fund’s victims under the terms of the (deferred prosecution agreement) and added it will accordingly grant Armstrong’s request to compel (Landis) to produce this email in unredacted form.

In 2010, Landis filed the suit against his former teammate as a whistleblower for the federal government. The government joined Landis' suit in 2013 and is trying hard to recover damages on behalf of the United States Postal Service that paid more than $30 million to sponsor their cycling team from 1998 to 2004. The federal government argues that Lance Armstrong violated sponsorship contract of the cycling team by doping and making false statements about it to unjustly enrich himself.

Armstrong could be on the hook for triple damages nearing $100 million if he loses the case. Floyd Landis will get a share of the damages as the whistleblower that brought the case.

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