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Lance Armstrong avoids deposition, reaches settlement

7:09 PM, Nov 20, 2013   |    comments
Lance Arsmtrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in January. He has not given sworn testimony since admitting to doping to Winfrey. (Photo: George Burns, AP)
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Hours before he was scheduled to testify under oath about his doping practices, Lance Armstrong reached a settlement in a lawsuit against him and has canceled his deposition scheduled for Thursday in Austin.

The 11th-hour settlement falls in line with a recurring theme - Armstrong does not want to give testimony under oath about doping if he can help it. The former cyclist has not done so since he admitted to doping in January during a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. The last time he is believed to have done so was 2005-06, when he lied and denied doping in a different lawsuit.

In this case, the scheduled deposition was part of the pretrial discovery process in a civil fraud lawsuit filed against him by Acceptance Insurance, which sought to recover $3 million on bonuses it paid him for winning the Tour de France from 1999 to 2001.

Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that the case has been "resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties." He declined to reveal further details. But by resolving the case now, he avoids the deposition set for Thursday.

In September, an attorney for Acceptance, Mark Kincaid, wrote in court filings that Armstrong's team engaged in a "lengthy string of delays, unanswered calls, unheeded requests, and general foot-dragging so that Armstrong's counsel have not provided a reasonable alternate date" to schedule the deposition. Last month, they finally agreed upon a date (Nov. 21), now canceled with the settlement.

Armstrong recently provided written responses to detailed questions from Acceptance about his doping practices. But those answers were never shared with outside parties and likely will be barred from release under terms of the settlement.

His attorneys also have unsuccessfully tried to reduce the number of times the former cyclist will be required to testify in depositions, arguing that he's been sued so many times that he shouldn't have to endure repeated questions about the same subject.

A federal judge Monday declined his attorneys' request to consolidate his depositions.Armstrong is facing three other pending lawsuits in state and federal court, including a case brought by the federal government on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service.

Those suits and the Acceptance suit were filed after Armstrong confessed to doping in January after years of denying it. Another suit, brought by readers of his autobiographies, was dismissed after a federal judge ruled that Armstrong had a right to lie in his books.

Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency compiled more than 1,000 pages of doping evidence against him.

Follow Brent Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: bschrotenb@usatoday.com


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