Volleys continue in court flap over Armstrong’s girlfriend | AspenTimes.com

Volleys continue in court flap over Armstrong’s girlfriend

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas. The Justice Department laid out its case in a lawsuit against Lance Armstrong on Tuesday, Apriil 23, 2013 saying the cyclist violated his contract with the U.S. Postal Service and was "unjustly enriched" while cheating to win the Tour de France. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)
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Lance Armstrong’s Aspen fender-bender heard around the world continues to attract the interest of the U.S. government, which renewed its push Friday to quiz his girlfriend about the incident.

The feds have subpoenaed Ann Hansen, the cyclist’s girlfriend since 2008, to be deposed about the December hit-and-run in Aspen’s West End neighborhood where the couple own a home. They also want to question her about Armstrong’s June 2011 verbal confrontation at Cache Cache restaurant with Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Armstrong who accused him of cheating a month earlier on “60 Minutes.”

Hansen’s lawyers say her deposition is not relevant to the government’s case against Armstrong on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. Armstrong rode for the Postal Service from 1997 to 2004, when his use of performance-enhancing drugs propelled him to six of his seven Tour de France victories. The government claims Armstrong and team managers defrauded the Postal Service by accepting its sponsorship money.

The feds believe that Hansen has information that will help cement its contention that Armstrong led and still leads a life of concealment and deceit.

In Friday’s brief, the government included the police report from the Dec. 27 car accident in which Armstrong drove into two vehicles in front of a West Francis Street home.

Hansen initially told Aspen police that she was behind the wheel, but recanted her story. Armstrong, who admitted to conspiring with Hansen in the cover-up, subsequently pleaded guilty and paid a $150 traffic fine and $238.50 in court fees.

“Hansen was later forced to admit that it was Armstrong — not she — who was the car’s driver, but she admitted this only after the police had already learned the truth,” the filing says. “Hansen also admitted that she and Armstrong made a ‘joint decision’ to let Hansen take the blame for the hit-and-run.”

In previous motions to quash the subpoena, Hansen’s attorneys have argued that her statements about the incident aren’t “discoverable,” which is their legal way of saying it wouldn’t be allowed into evidence.

But Friday’s filing argues that it is, contending that “the evidence the government seeks to discover bears directly on Armstong’s ‘propensity for deception’ and on his willingness to involve others to their detriment in his deceptive activities. In addition, this 2014 false statement directly undermines any suggestion that Armstrong changed his ways after he confessed to Oprah Winfrey.”

Hansen also witnessed Armstrong’s encounter with Hamilton at the Aspen restaurant, which the government claims was witness tampering.

“Since Hansen personally witnessed these events, and since Armstrong’s own veracity is in dispute, the government is entitled to discover what Hansen herself knows about this incident,” the Friday filing says.

The lawsuit is based in the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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