Judge dismisses Lance Armstrong's lawsuit challenging USADA doping investigation
AUSTIN, Texas (KABC) -- Retired bicycling champion Lance Armstrong filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in response to a drug investigation by the agency. Monday afternoon the federal judge in the case dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit. The judge will allow Armstrong to refile the lawsuit within 20 days.
Within hours, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the 80-page complaint. He said it seemed more intended to whip up public opinion in Armstrong's favor that focus on the legal argument.
Sparks, however, did not rule on the merits of Armstrong's claims and will let him refile the lawsuit. Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said he could do that as early as Tuesday.
USADA alleges Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his career, which included seven Tour de France victories.
Armstrong, 40, has vehemently denied the charges and has gone on a counteroffensive against USADA since the agency filed charges in June. Armstrong asked a judge to issue an injunction against USADA before Saturday, the deadline for him to formally challenge the case in the agency's arbitration process or else accept sanctions.
Armstrong's lawsuit says USADA rules violate athletes' constitutional right to a fair trial, and he contends the agency does not have jurisdiction in his case.
USADA, created in 2000 and recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States, formally charged Armstrong in June with taking performance-enhancing drugs and participating in a vast doping conspiracy on his Tour de France winning teams, some of which were sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.
The charges came after a two-year federal criminal investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong ended in February with no charges filed against him. The anti-doping agency says up to 10 former teammates and associates are willing to testify against him and that it has blood samples from 2009-2010 that are "fully consistent" with doping.
The lawsuit also accuses USADA's chief executive, Travis Tygart, of waging a personal vendetta against the cancer survivor who won the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005.
Armstrong's lawsuit amplifies public complaints he made about USADA in recent weeks and makes several arguments:
- The agency's rules and arbitration are designed to find athletes guilty. Athletes are not allowed to subpoena documents or compel witnesses to testify in a hearing. USADA has so far withheld the names of most of the witnesses against Armstrong, saying it is protecting them from potential intimidation.
- The International Cycling Union, cycling's governing body which licensed Armstrong to ride professionally, should have jurisdiction over the allegations. Armstrong says allegations of doping by him and his team that were first raised by admitted drug-user Floyd Landis in 2010 should be addressed by UCI.
- Tygart and officials with the World Anti-Doping Agency have recklessly pursued Armstrong for several years in a personal quest to catch him despite Armstrong's hundreds of negative drug tests. Tygart was named a co-defendant in the lawsuit.
USADA may have violated federal law if it coerced witness testimony against him with deals to reduce punishments for riders facing doping charges. Media reports last week said former Armstrong teammates George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde, who are all riding in this year's Tour de France, may be witnesses against him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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