UPDATE: Armstrong's Lawsuit Denied By Federal Judge
Update: A Texas federal judge has already dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit, stating that the 80-page document seemed more focused on riling up the public than actually getting into the legal terms of his case. Not ruling on the case's merits, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has stated that Lance can refile within 20 days. The USADA deadline for Armstrong's decision to accept the sanctions or go to arbitration is still on Saturday.
Lance Armstrong filed a federal lawsuit on Monday that hopes to stop the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) from pursuing the doping charges it has filed against him.
The restraining order claims that the USADA’s investigation is unconstitutional, that the agency lacks jurisdiction in the case, that the charges are a result of an eight-year-old personal vendetta against the seven-time Tour de France winner and that the investigation is “causing irreparable harm” to the former cyclist.
According to the predictably aggressive suit, Armstrong not only hopes to retain his Tour titles, but also wants monetary compensation for legal fees and “further equitable relief” for the ordeal.
“It is a testament to USADA’s brazenness and callous disregard for its own mission that it seeks to strip Mr. Armstrong of his life’s work,” Lance’s lawyers (who also called the USADA's hearing procedure a "kangaroo court") stated in the claim. "The process [USADA] seek to force upon Lance Armstrong is not a fair process and truth is not its goal.”
According to The Associated Press, Armstrong’s legal team argues the following:
— 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 that 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.
— 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.
— 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 codefendant in the lawsuit.
In a statement, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart had the following to say: "USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity. We are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport.”
Lance’s legal team has requested that the court issue an injunction by Saturday, the last day that he can formally challenge the USADA’s process or accept the sanctions.