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Lance Armstrong Whistleblower Lawsuit To Be Joined By Department Of Justice: REPORTS

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LANCE ARMSTRONG
U.S. Postal Service's Lance Armstrong rides ahead of Team Phonak's Tyler Hamilton, center, and T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, of Germany, during the Tour de France cycling race on July 6, 2004. | AP
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Rather than merely closing a sordid chapter in his life, Lance Armstrong's confession of doping to Oprah Winfrey may have been the prelude to further troubles.

Just one day after it was reported by The Associated Press that U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart lobbied Attorney General Eric Holder to join a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong, ABC News and NBC News reported on Friday that the Department of Justice has decided to act.


ABC World News
JUST IN: The Department of Justice will announce today that it is joining a civil whistle blower suit against Lance Armstrong.

NBC News
BREAKING: Feds will sue Lance Armstrong for using performance-enhancing drugs during Tour de France, sources say

Citing an unnamed legal source, NBC reports that the DOJ will notify a federal court that it will be joining a whistleblower lawsuit previously filed by Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong who has also confessed to doping.

Armstrong was formally stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from elite competition in the aftermath of a report by USADA in October 2012. In that voluminous, damning report, Tygart implicated Armstrong in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

After years of vehement denials, Armstrong admitted rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career in an interview with Winfrey in January.

Earlier this week, Armstrong's attorney revealed that the disgraced cyclist would not submit to an interview by USADA under oath.

"Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so," Tygart said on Wednesday, via The Associated Press. "Today we learned from the media that Mr. Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport."

With or without cooperation, Tygart appears committed to addressing the ills of cycling, especially as they relate to Armstrong.

In a letter first reported by Velonews.com and then independently obtained by The Associated Press, Tygart informed Holder that "fraud and other crimes were committed" by Armstrong and his teammates while the U.S. Postal Service was a key sponsor.

The U.S. Postal Service paid out $30.9 million to Armstrong's cycling team from 2001-2004, according to documents obtained by ESPN in 2011.

A former Armstrong teammate who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, Landis filed this whistleblower lawsuit in 2010 under the False Claims Act, according to the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit reportedly alleges that Armstrong and his teammates defrauded the federal government by using performance-enhancing drugs despite a contract requiring them not to.

Citing an unnamed source, CBS News reported in January that the Department of Justice had rejected a $5 million offer of restitution from Armstrong.

“Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged,” Armstrong's lawyer Robert Luskin said in a statement obtained by The New York Times. “The Postal’s Services own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship — benefits totaling more than $100 million.”

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