The U.S. government is not mincing words as it readies to take to court a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service, the government agency that sponsored several of the 44-year-old cyclist’s winning Tour de France teams. In its latest round of documents, filed late Monday night, Justice Department lawyers referred to Armstrong as a “doper, dealer and liar.”
“The U.S. Postal Service paid more than $40 million to associate its brand with Lance Armstrong: American hero,” the lawyers wrote in the documents (via New York Daily News). “Instead, it unwittingly tied its brand to Lance Armstrong: doper, dealer and liar … The latter, naturally, held no value to the USPS.”
The papers continued (via USA Today): “No sponsor who knew the truth about how Armstrong achieved his apparent Tour de France victories would have paid any amount of money to sponsor him or his team.”
This latest round of documents came in response to a filing in April from Armstrong’s legal team asking the court to throw out the lawsuit.
The Justice Department joined the lawsuit in 2013, three years after it was filed by Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis on behalf of the USPS. The lawsuit alleges Armstrong defrauded the government of taxpayer money and violated his contract by taking and then lying about taking performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s former team owner Tailwind Sports and team manager Johan Bruyneel are also named in the lawsuit that could go to court next year.
Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles, including six while on a team sponsored by the USPS. In 2012, the UCI, world cycling’s governing body, stripped Armstrong of his wins, after an extensive U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation concluded Armstrong led “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Armstrong, who confessed to using PEDs in a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013, has since lost all his sponsorships and has resigned from the board of Livestrong, the cancer awareness charity he started in 2003.