Federal Judge Dismisses Lance Armstrong's Lawsuit: AP

Cycling superstar filed a lawsuit to block anti-doping regulators's doping charges against him

By Sam Schulz and Emily Feldman
|  Monday, Jul 9, 2012  |  Updated 6:06 PM EDT
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Lance Armstrong is hitting back at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with a lawsuit challenging the body's doping charges against him.

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A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday filed by Lance Armstrong to block doping charges against him, but will allow him to re-file within 20 days, The Associated Press reported.

Armstrong's lawsuit represented his latest and most aggressive effort to defend his decades-long cycling career legacy.

In the suit he filed in Austin, Texas, federal court, the heavily decorated seven-time Tour de France winner accused the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and its chief executive of plotting to topple his career and of stacking the deck against him with baseless charges.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled hours later, slamming Armstrong's attorneys for filing an 80-page complaint that Sparks said, seemed less focused on proving a legal point than advocating for public support, The AP reported.

Armstrong's suit claimed that the cycling champion had been presented "with an impossible and unlawful choice: either accept a lifetime ban and the loss of his competitive achievements, or endure a rigged process where he would be certain to lose and suffer the same outcome."

"This 'choice' offends the law, offends due process, and offends fundamental fairness," it added.

Armstrong pointed to clean results on more than 500 drug tests throughout his career as evidence of what he said was the agency's campaign against him and its "brazenness and callous disregard for its own mission."

He also slammed the entire set-up of the agency's "self-created, self-regulated and self-operated" arbitration process as a "kangaroo court proceeding" that it had "rigged to ensure that it cannot lose."

Armstrong said such a proceeding would violate due process regardless — but according to his suit, the agency doesn't even have jurisdiction to bring the charges, even under its own governing rules.

With his suit, Armstrong asked the court to bar the agency from sanctioning, fining or disqualifying him or pursuing the charges based on its doping allegations from last month.

He also asked the court to declare that the agency had violated due process and that its arbitration clauses aren't binding and to award him damages.

The defendants for their part responded to news of the suit by standing by their procedures.

"USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity," named defendant and agency CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

"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," he said.

Armstrong rode to fame on the strength of his seven consecutive Tour de France wins after a battle with advanced testicular cancer.

Despite facing doping allegations for many years, he has continually denied the charges and pointed to his many negative test results for performance-enhancing drugs, calling himself the most tested athlete in the world.

Armstrong is backed by a team of lawyers from Williams & Connolly LLP, Patton Boggs LLP and Howry Breen & Herman LLP.

A PDF of the complaint is available via Austin, Texas, NBC affiliate KXAN's reporting on the suit.

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