Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will next month be required to make a deposition in court under oath in a lawsuit brought by an insurance company that paid him bonuses for three of the seven Tour de France victories he was stripped of last year.
Meanwhile, two men are said to have pleaded guilty for sending threatening emails to United States Anti-Doping (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart in connection with his investigation of the cyclist.
Armstrong’s deposition next month will take place in a court in Austin, Texas and relates to a lawsuit brought by Acceptance Insurance, which insured his win bonuses from 1999 to 2001.
Depositions are frequently used in US litigations cases and are oral testimony given under oath, which is then transcribed and used during the course of the case, Armstrong will be required to answer a series of questions put to him by the insurance company lawyers.
In recent weeks, lawyers for Armstrong and Acceptance Insurance have argued over discovery requests in the case, with the former claiming it should be limited to the period the bonuses relate to, while the latter said that his entire career was of relevance.
The date of Armstrong's deposition, 21st of November,was confirmed in court papers issued yesterday, the relevant part being posted as a photo to Twitter by ABC News Correspondent, Neal Karlinsky.
Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak also rejected a request by Armstrong that his deposition be consolidated with any he might be required to give under other lawsuits he is facing, including the 'whitsleblower' case brought by former team mate Floyd Landis, which has been joined by the US federal government.
The proceedings are entirely separate to a lawsuit filed by another insurer, SCA Promotions, which is suing Armstrong for $11 million in relation to the a sum of $7.5 million it had been ordered to pay by an arbitration hearing in 2006.
SCA had initially withheld the bonuses, relating to Armstrong’s Tour de France wins in 2002, 2003 and 2004, due to claims that he was doping. At that arbitration hearing in Dallas, the former US Postal rider claimed he had “never, ever” used performance-enhancing drugs.
He was awarded the $5 million in bonuses and $2.5 million in interest and costs since he was at the time the official winner of the Tour de France in the years in question, something SCA is challenging now he has been stripped of the titles.
Following USADA’s publication of its Reasoned Decision in the Armstrong investigation last year, the former US Postal rider eventually confessed to doping - at least, up until 2005, the year of his final Tour de France victory - in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January.
That limited confession followed years of denial by Armstrong that he doped, as well as bullying and intimidation of those who spoke out against him, often resorting to the courts.
In August, Armstrong reached an out of court settlement with The Sunday Times, which had paid him £300,000 in 2006 after he sued it for libel in relation to an article by its chief sports writer David Walsh based on the book LA Confidentiel, which he had co-written.
The amount Armstrong paid the newspaper was undiscosed, but it had been seeking £1 million made up of the return of that payment, plus interest, costs and damages.
It is believed Armstrong's insistence he didn't dope following his return to the sport in 2009 despite USADA's assertion he did is due to the potential lawsuits that could follow from sponsors, which would not be subject to a statute of limitations.
However, it has been calculated that if all the lawsuits currently being pursued against him succeed, he could face making payments that would amount to $10 million in excess of his estimated $125 million fortune.
Pair to plead guilty on Tygart email threats
Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that two men are to plead guilty on felony charges related to separate threatening emails sent to USADA CEO Travis Tygart in connection with the agency’s investigation of Armstrong.
An attorney for Gerrit Keats of Florida, who had sent Tygart an email two weeks after USADA published its Reasoned Decision in October last year, said his client “Keats is very sorry for his actions and it'll never happen again.”
Robert Hutchins from Utah had sent the USADA CEO an email on 23 August last year – the very same day that Armstrong complained that he was the victim of "Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt." Court papers filed by an attorney for Hutchins show his plea in the case involving him as having been changed to ‘guilty.’
The incidents are separate, but both men were arrested following an FBI investigation launched in July this year and could face prison sentences of up to five years if convicted. However, the newspaper says that is unlikely given they have entered guilty pleas.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.