Lawyer believes Armstrong likely to avoid criminal charge
A lawyer who questioned Lance Armstrong under oath believes the disgraced cyclist will avoid criminal prosecution for lying following his belated confession to using performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong admitted to doping during his record run of seven Tour de France wins, from 1999 to 2005, in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, contradicting testimony he gave Dallas-based lawyer Jeff Tillotson in November 2005.
The admission opens up the 41-year-old Texan to a host of legal action. The passage of time means criminal charges of perjury are unlikely, but Tillotson’s clients SCA Promotions is seeking to recoup $12 million (€9.1m) in prize money it paid Armstrong after losing its case over seven years ago.
Tillotson said: “The statute of limitations for Mr Armstrong to be prosecuted criminally for perjury in Texas for what he said in our case has probably run. Our goal in this would be to say: please don’t let Mr Armstrong keep that benefit of the lie. He told us a series of lies in our case that allowed him to get $12 million from us. No one should benefit from lying under oath.
“Within the first minute of his interview with Oprah Winfrey he said yes to . . . questions regarding his use of performance-enhancing drugs that he had answered no to me, under oath, in giving sworn testimony. For us it was a very quick acknowledgement by Mr Armstrong that not only had he been lying to the public for years, but he had lied directly and purposely to us under oath.”
Since the interview, Tillotson has been in contact with Armstrong’s lawyer, Austin-based Tim Herman, to inform him SCA Promotions is prepared to open civil proceedings, if necessary.
Another legal case which Armstrong faces is for damages won from the Sunday Times. David Walsh, the newspaper’s chief sports writer, led the investigative journalism into Armstrong’s misdemeanours. A spokesman said: “The Sunday Times believes our case for recovering the £1 million he obtained from us by fraud is now even stronger. We will be pursuing that case vigorously.”
Meanwhile, reports from Hollywood suggest Paramount Pictures will make a movie of Armstrong’s story, based on a proposal by New York Times’ Juliet Macur.