Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 18, 2013

Confession may lead to legal woes for Armstrong


Clemens was acquitted last year on six counts that he lied and obstructed Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice in December 2011 and sentenced to 30 days' home detention. His case is under appeal.

Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, is convinced the criminal case will be reopened.

Because of a fraud, "he became very famous, very rich," Keane said. "The idea of him getting a pass on it is going to be looked at with a degree of there's a double standard here. It's something (the government) takes very seriously and they want to discourage people from doing it."

If prosecutors try reopening the case, they do face a hurdle, possibly one that hampered the initial investigation. Any charges may have fallen outside the statute of limitations, but some legal observers said there may be some wiggle room.

"On the criminal side, there are certainly timing issues, but I've never met a prosecutor who didn't try to find a creative way around a statute of limitations," said Marc Mukasey, also a former federal prosecutor and New York-based defense attorney.

Most legal experts agree, however, that Armstrong's confession will expose him to various civil lawsuits.

Already, the London-based Sunday Times has filed a suit to recoup about $500,000 it paid Armstrong to settle a libel case. Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a bonus it promised for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.

Most damaging could be a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong by former teammate Floyd Landis, who claims the seven-time Tour de France winner defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs.

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