The New York Times reports today that one person will be watching Lance Armstrong’s Thursday interview on Oprah interview very closely: Thomas Weisel, co-owner of the disgraced cyclist’s U.S. Postal Service Team.
Weisel, who was a big financial backer of Armstrong, could be hit with lawsuits from corporate sponsors, The Times points out.
The team itself has already gotten in legal trouble that could get worse this week.
That trouble involves a lawsuit Armstrong’s teammate, Floyd Landis, filed against the U.S. Postal Service Team under the False Claims Act, which allows “whistleblowers” to file suit on behalf of the federal government.
Landis claims the team defrauded the federal government by taking sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service while players were doping, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Lawsuits under the False Claims Act are filed under seal and usually don’t gather much steam unless the federal government decides to “join” the suit as a plaintiff.
The Justice Department has until Thursday – when the Oprah interview airs – to join the lawsuit, and the WSJ reports that officials at the department have recommended doing just that.
Landis, like all whistleblowers, stands to make some money off the lawsuit if he and the government prevail.
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