A US judge has ordered that Lance Armstrong provide three more hours of testimony under oath as part of the whistleblower case against him.
Armstrong was questioned for seven hours on July 23 and his lawyers have seeked to block the additional order, saying their client has already answered 1,600 questions about doping in that session.
District judge Christoper Cooper said in a statement that the deposition will reopen after several lines of enquiry were decided to have been unexplored in the initial questioning.
“Having reviewed the July 23 deposition transcript, the Court agrees that the Government is entitled to reopen Armstrong’s deposition,” the statement, published in USA Today, reads.
“The Government has identified several lines of inquiry that it was not able to fully explore in the first seven hours, most notably Armstrong’s own prior statements addressing allegations that he had used PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs).
“These statements — many of them unequivocal denials — are relevant to the Government’s theory that Armstrong concealed his drug use from (the U.S. Postal Service). The Government is entitled to explore whether Armstrong will seek to disavow or qualify those earlier assertions at trial.”
Armstrong’s lawyers describe the additional questioning as ‘gratuitous’, saying the government has already covered the ground it says was unexplored.
“The transcript of Armstrong’s deposition vividly demonstrates that further questioning is gratuitous,” they argued in court documents filed last week.
“Plaintiffs deposed Armstrong for over seven hours. The government asked, and Armstrong answered, over 1,600 questions, creating a transcript of 385 pages of testimony.
“Contrary to its representation, the government has already asked Armstrong about each and every one of the topics plaintiffs claim they were ‘not able to cover during (his) deposition.’”
Judge Cooper also granted Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis two hours to question the Texan. Landis stands to gain a share of the compensation should the whistleblower lawsuit succeed.
Armstrong’s lawyers went on to say the government had wasted “an enormous amount of record time establishing facts Armstrong has already admitted publicly.”
The lawsuit could cost Armstrong $100m as the government set out to prove the former rider concealed his drug taking from the US Postal Service – his team’s sponsor. Armstrong says he fears financial ruin should he be found guilty.