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Following Lance Armstrong’s bombshell Oprah interview last night — which saw him admit to doping multiple times — British newspaper the Sunday Times has said it will attempt to get money Armstrong won in court from the paper back.One of the newspaper’s sports writers, David Walsh, has pursued drug claims against Armstrong since 1999. Armstrong started a libel case against Walsh and his editor after a 2004 article, and the paper agreed to an out of court settlement with Armstrong in 2006. The Guardian reports that the settlement was worth £300,000 ($478,000) and cost the newspaper around £1 million ($1.59 million) in total.
A joint statement released at the time 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.”
Following last night’s admission that Armstrong had used performance enhancing drugs, the newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, has released a new statement:
“We watched Lance Armstrong’s interview with interest and noted his numerous admissions regarding taking performance-enhancing drugs. The Sunday Times believes that our case for recovering the £1m plus he obtained from us by fraud is now even stronger. We will be pursuing that case vigorously.”
Walsh, who pursued the claims against Armstrong for over 13 years, has been speaking to the press. In an interview with NPR today he said that he finally felt vindicated:
“It’s satisfying because a lot of people helped me. When I say they helped me, they were my sources, they went out on a limb to tell the truth solely for the sake of telling the truth. So I felt a tremendous satisfaction that people could at last see that these people had been telling the truth all along.”
Walsh has good reason to feel good about the confession — Armstrong has, on record, insulted him multiple times. Writing in the Press Gazette, Andrew Pugh describes how Armstrong called him “a scumbag” and a “f—— little troll.”
Armstrong went on:
“I’ve won six tours. I’ve done everything I ever could do to prove my innocence. I have done, outside of cycling, way more than anyone in the sport. To be somebody who’s spread himself out over a lot of areas, to hopefully be somebody who people in this city, this state, this country, this world can look up to as an example. And you know what? They don’t even know who David Walsh is. And they never will. And in 20 years nobody is going to remember him. Nobody.”
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