Besieged by lawsuits that could wipe out his ill-gotten fortune, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has asked a federal judge to consolidate some of the testimony in order to minimize burdens on America's courts.
The request came amid a flurry of court filings late Monday night as the Justice Deptartment redoubled its support for a lawsuit intended to claw back tens of millions of dollars Armstrong was paid by the U.S. Postal Service, the primary sponsor of his corrupt Tour de France teams.
The Armstrong motion asked federal judge Robert Wilkins of the District of Columbia to coordinate depositions in that case and four other complaints connected to Armstrong's doping. For a decade, Armstrong furiously maintained his innocence, but then confessed last year after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation exposed the vast extent of his cheating.
"The suits revolve around the same factual allegations of use, seek to recover money from overlapping defendants, and identify common third-party witnesses," Armstrong's attorneys wrote. "Deposing the same witnesses multiple times across those suits is a waste of the courts' and the parties' resources."
Before his downfall, Armstrong was much less hesitant to swamp courts at home and abroad with expensive lawsuits designed to suppress the truth about the sophisticated doping programs fueling his teams. But now his lawyers argue that harassment would occur if witnesses were subjected to repeated questioning in different court cases.
"Given the passage of time since the alleged doping, plaintiffs could turn the depositions into a treasure hunt for inconsistencies in decaying memories of ancient events," the motion said. "The allegations of doping are highly salacious and seem to be a source of endless interest to the press."
Among those suing Armstrong are insurance companies that paid him bonuses and people who bought the books Armstrong published. But the most serious complaint is the one Armstrong's former teammate, Floyd Landis, initiated in 2010 under the False Claims Act. The Justice Department joined that action.
Armstrong's lawyers said their client would contest that suit vigorously without denying he used banned drugs and methods. His legal team has previously claimed that the USPS got value from its association with Armstrong's since-invalidated Tour de France victories.
"The sponsorship has not enhanced the Postal Service's reputation, as the Postal Service had once hoped it would," the government brief argued, "but instead will forever link the Postal Service with the sordid scandal that brought down Lance Armstrong."
Original headline: Lance Armstrong's legal team asks to streamline testimony in multiple lawsuits
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