The Government's Throwing the Book at Lance Armstrong

Livestrong/AP File Photo

After much speculation, the Justice Department pulled back the curtain on its plan to recoup some of the dozens of millions of dollars that the government spent sponsoring confessed cheater Lance Armstrong. The filing contends that Armstrong was "unjustly enriched" during his time on the United States Postal Service Team. What does that phrase mean? It means that the (very broke) USPS paid Armstrong $17 million between 1998 and 2004, nearly half the total amount of $40 million it paid to sponsor the team. Now, the government doesn't just want its $17 million back. It wants "triple damages assessed by the jury," the Associated Press reports.

Perhaps not so obviously, Armstrong and his army of lawyers aren't going down without a fight. This isn't so obvious because Armstrong very publicly — can't get more public than Oprah — confessed to doping during his cycling career in the face of overwhelming evidence that he juiced his way to the top. However, the Armstrong defense doesn't have to prove that the cyclist didn't dope. It just has to prove that the USPS wasn't damaged by the doping. The Justice Department, meanwhile, aims to base its case on the fact that it's against the rules of cycling to use performance-enhancing drugs, and Armstrong not only broke those rules, he tried to cover it all up.

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