Attorneys for Lance Armstrong filed documents in federal court on Tuesday, arguing that his seven consecutive Tour de France victories were worth much more to the U.S. Postal Service, his sponsor, than they were to him, according to the AP.
As Outside reported last month, the USPS is a co-claimant in a lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis against Armstrong in 2010 under the False Claims Act. The claimants argue that the doping and subsequent cover-up Armstrong committed when he was sponsored by the USPS amounted to defrauding the federal government. In joining the case, the USPS has sought to recoup the nearly $40 million it spent on his sponsorship, with total damages approaching $100 million.
This week’s filing is meant to counter the USPS’s fraud claims, asserting that the investment in Armstrong paid for itself “many times over.” Among the documents filed by Armstrong’s attorneys are reviews by the USPS of its own contracts, which estimate the value of the sponsorship at $140 million in improved exposure and product sales. In addition to this, a talking points memo written in 2003 said the sponsorship “may be one of the most effective public relations ventures the Postal Service, and for that matter, any other global service agency, has ever undertaken.”
Armstrong meanwhile is seeking to interview dozens of government employees to show that the USPS was “well aware of extensive doping,” a statement which, if proven, would greatly weaken the argument that he had defrauded them. The conflict over potential witnesses has been fought both ways. Prosecutors are still waiting for a ruling as to whether they can subpoena Armstrong’s former partner Anna Hansen to interview her about the cyclist’s history as a fabulist. Armstrong’s attorneys have described the request as a form of harassment.