Armstrong sued London's Sunday Times newspaper for libel over a 2004 article
The Sunday Times settled with the cyclist -- but may now seek to recover that money
USADA says it has "overwhelming evidence" that Armstrong was involved in a doping program
Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong denies doping allegations
London’s Sunday Times is considering suing Lance Armstrong over a libel case he brought against the newspaper over doping allegations which resulted in a costly payout.
The potential legal action follows a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which said it had uncovered “overwhelming evidence” that Armstrong had participated in and helped run the U.S. Postal Service cycling team’s doping program.
A spokeswoman for the Sunday Times confirmed that it is “considering taking action to recover money spent on a libel case Armstrong brought and to pursue him for fraud.”
The libel case involved a 2004 Sunday Times article which referenced a 2003 book, “L.A. Confidentiel – Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong.” Published in France by two journalists, one of them Sunday Times sports reporter David Walsh, the book dealt with doping allegations against Armstrong.
The newspaper settled with Armstrong in June 2006 after the High Court ruled the article would be interpreted as meaning Armstrong was a “fraud, a cheat and a liar,” the UK Press Gazette, an industry journal, reported at the time.
A statement at the time from Schillings, the law firm acting for Armstrong, said: “The Sunday Times has confirmed to Mr. Armstrong that it never intended to accuse him of being guilty of taking any performance enhancing drugs and sincerely apologized for any such impression. Mr. Armstrong has always vigorously opposed drugs in sport and appreciates The Sunday Times efforts to also address the problem.”
The USADA report released Wednesday, with more than 1,000 pages of evidence, said Armstrong was part of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Former team members were among 26 witnesses who testified to the USADA as part of its investigation into doping by Armstrong and other riders on the team.
On his Twitter feed, sports reporter Walsh welcomed the USADA report, saying: “It is ALL there… entire report plus all affidavits. No man or woman of sane mind can now never doubt what went on.”
Armstrong has consistently denied doping accusations, and his lawyer called the USADA probe a “witch hunt” Wednesday. But the cyclist has stopped contesting the allegations, and he faces being stripped of his titles.
Armstrong decided to give up fighting the agency’s investigation in August, after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit he had filed seeking to stop the probe.
CNN’s Per Nyberg and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.