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Judge Sends $100M Armstrong Lawsuit To Jury Trial

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A judge denied 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's request to dismiss the $100 million lawsuit against him by the U.S. Justice Department.

The lawsuit alleges that the cyclist committed fraud against the U.S. government by accepting sponsorships while doping. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) sponsored Armstrong, providing his team with over $32 million between 2000 and 2004.  

Armstrong had asked for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that USPS did benefit from their sponsorship deal despite the doping scandal. 

"The U.S. Postal Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship of the cycling team. Its own studies repeatedly and conclusively prove this. The USPS was never the victim of fraud." said Armstrong attorney Elliot Peters according to the San Diego Tribune. 

Peters added, "Lance Armstrong rode his heart out for the USPS team, and gave the brand tremendous exposure during the sponsorship years." The government countered those arguments, the Guardian reported, by saying USPS had been "tainted" by the Armstrong doping scandals and their association with him. 

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper's ruling to send the case to trial stresses that the damages to USPS's public image need to be decided by a jury of the public. Cooper wrote that any revenue losses or brand damage would have been the result of a highly publicized event, and that "determination of damages must therefore be left to a jury," according to USA Today. 

After losing his sponsorships, being stripped of his titles and awards, and finally stepping down as chairman from his cancer foundation in 2012, Armstrong also lost a separate fraud lawsuit in 2015.

The 2015 loss forced Armstrong to pay $10 million in damages to promotions company SCA for what they called an "unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy," wrote US News.

In 2013, Armstrong confessed to knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Sources: San Diego Tribune, Guardian, USA TodayUS News / Photo credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr

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