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SBD Global/January 16, 2013/People and Pop Culture
South Australian Gov't To Pursue Suit Against Armstrong Following His Alleged Confession
Published January 16, 2013
JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON: In N.Y., Albergotti & O'Connell cited sources saying that U.S. Justice Department officials have "recommended joining a federal whistleblower lawsuit aimed at clawing back sponsorship money" from Armstrong. Former cyclist FLOYD LANDIS in the suit alleges that Armstrong and team managers "defrauded the U.S. government when they accepted money from the U.S. Postal Service." The "deadline for the Justice Department to join the suit is Thursday" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/15). Also in N.Y., Thompson & O'Keeffe reported Armstrong is "in talks to return some of the millions of taxpayer dollars he received" from the USPS, which sponsored his team from '98-04. The negotiations "may be an attempt to avoid criminal prosecution or prevent the government from joining the whistleblower suit filed" by Landis, who was stripped of his '06 Tour de France victory because of doping. Armstrong Monday taped an interview with Winfrey where he reportedly confessed to doping, but not everyone in a group of close friends and advisers "thought the sit-down was a good idea." Sources said that some of his advisers "believe it will increase his liability in civil litigation beyond the whistleblower case" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/15).
TALKING THE TALK...: The WSJ's Albergotti & O'Connell in a separate piece wrote under the header, "Behind Lance Armstrong's Decision To Talk." Armstrong's legal team had been "divided about a possible confession, with some expressing concern about its potential effect on continuing litigation." His team includes ROBERT LUSKIN and PATRICK SLEVIN at Patton Boggs, JOHN KEKER and ELLIOT PETERS at Keker & Van Nest, and lawyers from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. Armstrong also had been "regularly consulting" his attorney TIM HERMAN. Currently, it is "unclear what kind of financial effect his problems are having" on Armstrong (WSJ, 1/15). CBS’ Jack Ford said, “You have to believe that there were some significant battles going on inside of his camp. Public relations people probably saying, ‘Look, you need to take control of this story, move forward. We’re a forgiving nation. If you want to be able do things and resurrect your image you have to apologize and get out there.’ But I got to believe that his lawyers were saying, ‘That’s a terrible idea,’ because legally you’re now going to be exposing yourself to all kinds of civil suits” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 1/15).
...WALKING THE WALK: Winfrey Monday morning said she would “choose not to characterize” whether she thought Armstrong was genuinely “contrite” during the interview, which will air Thursday and Friday on OWN. She said, “I would rather people make their own decisions about whether he was contrite or not. I felt that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious. I thought that he certainly had prepared himself for this moment. I would say that he met the moment" ("CBS This Morning," 1/15).
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