Lance Armstrong lawyers: girlfriend’s testimony irrelevant to feds’ fraud case
Attorneys for Lance Armstrong took an offensive tack Friday against the U.S. government, which wants to depose the beleaguered cyclist’s girlfriend about two incidents in Aspen.
Earlier this month, federal authorities subpoenaed Anna Hansen, the seven-time Tour de France winner’s girlfriend since 2008, in their fraud case against Armstrong on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service, which paid $30 million to Armstrong and his team, claims it wouldn’t have spent the money had it known he was using performance-enhancing drugs from 1997 to 2004.
Armstrong’s attorneys, in last week’s court filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said Hansen has nothing relevant to offer to the case. The feds want to ask Hansen about her knowledge of Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs and pattern of concealment.
The government says Hansen could provide information about Armstrong’s December hit-and-run on two vehicles in Aspen’s West End as well as details about his June 2011 confrontation with former teammate Tyler Hamilton at Cache Cache restaurant in Aspen.
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“The first topic is a car accident that occurred in 2014, a decade after the U.S. Postal Service sponsorship ended,” Armstrong’s attorneys argued in Friday’s brief. “The accident — which had nothing to do with the Postal Service, performance enhancing substances, or cycling — lies well beyond the hinterlands of anything relevant to this case.”
Armstrong’s attorneys wrote that Hansen told police she was driving to avoid negative publicity for her boyfriend. The fender-bender, which happened Dec. 27 when Armstrong struck two vehicles in front of a West Francis Street home in Aspen, resulted in Armstrong pleading guilty to careless driving. He paid a $150 traffic fine and $238.50 in court fees.
Armstrong’s attorneys wrote that the accident “is not in any way related to issues being litigated in this case.”
Hansen’s testimony also shouldn’t be allowed at trial, Armstrong’s attorneys argued. The cyclist already went public about his cheating, so the government’s need for Hansen to provide any information is moot, Armstrong’s attorneys wrote.
“The government claims to need that evidence to prove Armstrong’s use of performance enhancing substances, concealment of that use, or the knowledge of others about that use,” the filing says. “But Armstrong has admitted his use and concealment to the entire world on national television and in binding admissions in his answers.”
The government also claims Hansen has inside knowledge of the Cache Cache incident, in which Armstrong confronted Hamilton about a “60 Minutes” interview in which Hamilton accused Armstrong of doping.
Again, Armstrong’s attorneys contend Hansen can bring no new, relevant information forward.
“Armstrong does not dispute that he concealed his use of performance enhancing substances until January 2013,” Armstrong’s attorneys wrote. “However, the details of the 2011 Cache Cache encounter with Hamilton add nothing, other than tabloid fodder, to the legitimate evidentiary record on that issue. During that encounter, Hamilton asked Armstrong to ‘step outside,’ and then drove by Armstrong’s home the following day. But none of this, or Hansen’s recollection of it, has the slightest thing to do with alleged false claims to USPS between 1997-2004.”
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