Here’s one for the books that will probably end up as the core of another lawyer joke. Lance Armstrong, the doping cycling champion who is battling a $120 million whistleblower lawsuit in which he is accused of defrauding his former sponsor the U.S. Postal service has a new defense in his case.
Years of denying doping notwithstanding, Armstrong who has now admitting using performance enhancing drugs says that the Postal Service case should be dismissed–BECAUSE THE POSTAL SERVICE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN HE WAS DOPING. Yup.
That’s right. Armstrong says now that he was such a pathetic liar that his sponsors should have known it. The lawyers are arguing, with straight faces, that even as their client was stonewalling the drug charges, the Postal Service should have paid more attention to media coverage suggesting he was doping. The Chief Lawyer for Armstrong is John Keker of San Francisco. You can probably picture it, Keker and his associates sitting in his office with a vast view of the San Francisco Bay, feet up. The discussion might have done something like this: ” ok– so what is the core of the feds claim? He lied. But, its not a lie if they knew or should have known he was lying because if they should have known he was lying then they didn’t rely on the lie and therefore it wasn’t really a lie, it was puffing. If I come up to you and tell you I am 7 feet tall but you can see I am only 5 foot three is that a lie? Of course not. You know its not because you can see I am 5 foot three. So here is Lance saying he didn’t dope but newspaper reports are all over the place saying he did…so was it a lie? Of course not!” Now that discussion may not have happened just that way but someone had to think up this defense and it sure wasn’t Lance Armstrong. This case, which was brought in 2010 by Floyd Landis alleges that Armstrong and other defrauded the government by taking taxpayer moneys on the understanding that Armstrong would not be cheating. It is a valid claim. I see defenses like this all the time. Unfortunately I am annealed to it. I hope no one else in America is. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.