Floyd Landis challenges Donald Trump through Lance Armstrong settlement

Stripped Tour de France winner Landis has raised a legal challenge around the appointment of a new attorney general

Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong at the 2005 Tour de France Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Floyd Landis has challenged US president Donald Trump’s administration through his Lance Armstrong lawsuit settlement.

Landis, a stripped Tour de France winner, has challenged the legitimacy of the acting US attorney general, Matthew Whitaker.

While most of the Landis-Armstrong lawsuit was settled earlier this year, part of the case remained open when Whitaker was appointed in early November.

The Justice Department under Whitaker needed to approve part of the agreement, but Landis is now using the case to question the validity of the appointment, according to USA Today.

Landis’ attorney, Paul Scott, said: “Though this motion may potentially go against his financial interests, Floyd is basically just trying to do the right thing here.

“The legitimacy of the [attorney general] happened to present itself in his case, so he decided to take a stand on the issue."

>>> ‘At least something positive can come out of the last 12 years’: The unexpected return of Floyd Landis

On November 7, Donald Trump announced that Whitaker would replace attorney general Jeff Sessions who was pushed out by the president.

Whitaker’s appointment has proved controversial, with senior US figures opposing his acting position as attorney general .

Landis, a confessed doper who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory, argues that Whitaker is not a legitimate acting head of the US Justice Department because the Senate did not approve his appointment.

On Monday, Landis asked the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit to rule Whitaker’s role as invalid.

Landis, Armstrong's former team-mate, is adding to his legal costs and throws into jeopardy an additional $122,870 (£95,000) he was awarded last week for his role in the Armstrong lawsuit, according to USA Today.

>>> Floyd Landis says cycling is not clean in post-Armstrong era

As part of the most recent deal, Landis agreed to drop an appeal over a case involving damages from Armstrong’s former manager Johan Bruyneel and Tailwind Sports, the parent company of Armstrong’s team.

In 2010, Landis filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong, claiming the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner had defrauded the US government by doping while riding for the US Postal Service team.

Earlier this year, Armstrong agreed to pay out $5million (£3.8million) in a settlement, with Landis due to receive around $750,000 (£576,150) as the person who raised the case.

Landis had also attempted to reclaim damages from Bruyneel and Tailwind, but that rejected, so Landis appealed.

When Landis dropped the appeal, the Justice Department agreed to pay out up to $122,000 but that money could now come into question due to Landis’ legal challenge against Whitaker’s appointment.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.