AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The federal government wants to see Lance Armstrong’s medical records from his treatments for cancer, specifically whether his doctors knew back in 1996 that he was using performance-enhancing drugs.
Court records show that government lawyers subpoenaed the Indiana University School of Medicine on July 30 to provide records of Armstrong’s treatments and donations he later made to the school.
The demand came in the government’s lawsuit to recover millions of dollars in sponsorship money the U.S. Postal Service paid to Armstrong’s teams from 1998-2004. Penalties could approach $100 million.
Armstrong’s lawyers have asked a judge to block the subpoena. They called the release of records a violation of privacy and noted Armstrong confessed in 2013 to doping to win the Tour de France seven times. In a deposition given July 23, Armstrong admitted doping prior to 1996, his lawyers wrote.
“Those documents are irrelevant to the subject matter of this litigation and the request is nothing more than an attempt to harass Armstrong, cause unnecessary delay, and needlessly increase the cost of this litigation,” Armstrong’s lawyers wrote.
The demand for medical records came in a late flurry of government subpoenas for documents and depositions as the case nears the end of the evidence-gathering phase. The government also issued subpoenas last week for testimony from Armstrong’s former sponsors Nike Inc., Trek Bicycle Corp., Giro Sport Design and Discovery Communications Inc., which took over sponsorship of Armstrong’s team in 2005.
Those subpoenas don’t name specific company officials, but allow them to choose a “person most knowledgeable” to discuss sponsorship deals and whether the company had any prior awareness of Armstrong’s doping.
The whistleblower lawsuit was initially filed by former teammate Floyd Landis and was joined by the federal government in 2013. The case is not expected to go to trial before 2016.
While Armstrong has confessed to doping since before 1996, the push for medical records and what Armstrong told his doctors could be an attempt to further establish an intricate conspiracy to hide his cheating from federal sponsors.
After his initial diagnosis in 1996, Armstrong sought help at Indiana University, where Dr. Lawrence Einhorn had developed advanced treatments for the kind of testicular cancer that had spread to Armstrong’s brain.
Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong’s former teammate Frankie Andreu, testified in a 2005 arbitration case that she was in a hospital room with Armstrong and others when she heard the cyclist tell doctors had had taken steroids and a blood booster.
Armstrong strongly denied the conversation took place, but Andreu’s claim was one of the key allegations of doping that swirled around Armstrong for years. She repeated the claim a sworn statement to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for its 2012 investigation that exposed Armstrong’s doping and led to him being stripped of his Tour de France victories.
In the motion to quash the subpoena, Armstrong’s lawyers wrote that he was recovering from brain surgery and now “does not recall” the conversation.
But others who were in the room – Frankie Andreu and Stephanie McIlvain, a representative of former Armstrong sponsor Oakley – have already been deposed.
Betsy Andreu insisted Wednesday she has always told the truth. The records, if allowed to be released to the government, should prove that, she said.
“My story has never changed. His has,” Andreu said. “Who can you believe?”
An Indiana University spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.