AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong's girlfriend can be questioned under oath about what she knows of his doping past, and his former teammate-turned-antagonist Floyd Landis will have to turn over records of investigations into his own previous doping case, a federal judge has decided.
This week's ruling from Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C., comes in a bitter struggle over pending testimony and records in a case that could hit Armstrong with more than $100 million in penalties, of which Landis could collect a large portion. The case is not expected to go to trial before 2016.
Armstrong had tried to block attempts by Landis and the government to question Anna Hansen, the mother of two of Armstrong's children.
Cooper ruled that Landis and the government can question Hansen for no more than two hours and must limit the deposition to what she knows about drug use by Armstrong or anyone else associated with the former U.S. Postal Service team. Hansen and Armstrong met in 2008, two years after the Postal Service had ended its sponsorship and a year after Armstrong initially retired following seven Tour de France titles.
That means Hansen can't be asked about Armstrong's attempt to cover up a traffic accident earlier this year in Colorado, or a 2011 confrontation between Armstrong and former teammate Tyler Hamilton, who was one of the first of Armstrong's former teammates to expose details of doping with the squad. The government had said it wanted to question Hansen about Armstrong's character and noted the accident and confrontation in court documents.
The judge also ruled that Landis must turn over any records he has of investigations into the doping case that led to him being stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title. In 2012, he agreed to repay donors nearly a half-million dollars that he raised for his defense fund in an agreement with federal prosecutors to spare him criminal charges.
Part of Armstrong's defense is that the U.S. Postal Service benefited greatly from its team sponsorship and that officials likely had suspicions of doping but chose to partner with Armstrong anyway.
On Thursday, the judge also ruled that Armstrong will be allowed to question some Postal Service officials about the sponsorship contract, its anti-doping provision and its overall estimated worth to the agency.
Armstrong attorney Elliot Peters said he was pleased by the rulings, "which allows us to get information that will help our defense."
Landis attorney Paul Scott said the rulings allow both sides to pursue evidence, but whether any of it can be admitted at trial remains to be seen.
"It is not a final determination as to the ultimate relevance or admissibility of these matters," Scott said.