The US government can take Lance Armstrong to court once the fallen cycling hero publicly admits to doping, experts and people familiar with the matter say.
Armstrong is said to have come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air on Thursday, his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year. Until now Armstrong, 41, had strenuously denied doping allegations for several years, even after a 1,000-page report by the US Anti-Doping Agency put him at the heart of the greatest doping scandal in the annals of cycling.
“Because he has now admitted he doped, that makes it a lot easier to prove a fraud claim,” said sports lawyer Brian Socolow.
“Given that he has now said that he did use performance-enhancing drugs, the government is given the opportunity to reopen an investigation.” Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University, said Armstrong could face criminal prosecution over the government sponsorship he received while riding on the US Postal team from 1998-2004.
“I'm talking about money, lots of money. I'm talking about liberty,” he told AFP. The case has enough for the government to consider prosecuting Armstrong for fraud and perjury after his denials under oath.