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Justice Department joins suit against Armstrong

The SportsXchange

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit under the False Claims Act against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

According to the suit, the seven-time Tour de France champion hid his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded a longtime sponsor and violated sponsorship contracts with the U.S. Postal Service.

Armstrong's lawyers confirmed Friday that the Justice Department was now part of the lawsuit originally filed in 2010 by Floyd Landis, Armstrong's former teammate who lost his 2006 Tour De France title because of doping.

According to USA Today, settlement discussions have taken place with the Justice Department and Armstrong but that the two sides remain far apart on the amount Armstrong should pay. Reports indicate that the government could be asking for approximately $100 million.

"Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged," Armstrong's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said. "The Postal's Services own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship -- benefits totaling more than $100 million."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had asked Attorney General Eric Holder in October to allow the Justice Department to join the suit after a report in which Armstrong's teammates detailed his PED use.

Armstrong confessed in an interview in January after years of denials that he took performancing-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his career.
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