Things just got even more real for former cyclist Lance Armstrong. The United States Justice Department has decided to join the lawsuit against Armstrong that was filed by former teammate Floyd Landis, this according to NBC News. Landis filed the lawsuit against Armstrong two years ago after being blacklisted for steroid use he said Armstrong not only introduced to him but encouraged.
You may be wondering how or why the government is getting involved in a lawsuit against a former athlete. The U.S. Justice Department is using the justification that because Armstrong raced with the United States Postal Service as his sponsor, he defrauded the government by taking steroids and cheating to win medals and boost his personal wealth.
Though the government’s action presents a serious new legal threat to Armstrong, the Justice Department case is not foolproof. Legal experts say Armstrong could argue that his contract with the team owners never explicitly prohibited blood doping. And he could claim that he never signed any agreement directly with the Postal Service that banned the practice.
It’s beyond a technicality for the government to get involved and claim Armstrong defrauded the government by taking steroids but if it fries Armstrong even more than he’s already been fried, there’s not a whole lot of people that are going to speak out against it. If the government indeed wins the lawsuit against Armstrong, he’s going to be faced with obscene fines as the Postal Service has paid out more than $30 million to Armstrong over his career.
The Justice Department’s involvement in the lawsuit was prompted by a letter that Travis Tygart, the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week urging him to get involved so we can all “get to the bottom (or top) of this massive fraud”.