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Lance Armstrong settles US federal fraud case for $5 million: attorney

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Former cycling champion Lance Armstrong on Thursday agreed to pay $5 million to settle a federal suit claiming he defrauded his sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service, by using performance-enhancing drugs, his attorney and federal officials said.

The settlement ends the long-running false claims suit brought by fellow cyclist Floyd Landis and joined by the U.S. government, which had sought $100 million in damages on behalf of the Post Office, according to statements from Armstrong’s attorney, Elliot Peters, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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“No one is above the law,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Chad Readler said in a statement. “This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.”

In his statement, Peters said, “Lance is delighted to put this behind him.”

By phone, Peters told Reuters that he thinks the Postal Service realized it could not prove damages to it caused by Armstrong’s behavior. He said the settlement was reached ahead of a scheduled May 7 trial date.

Armstrong, who is now 46 and lives in Austin, Texas, won the biggest race in professional cycling, the Tour de France, a record seven times, six of them while riding for the Postal Service team.

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He was stripped of his titles and banned for life from the sport in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports. Armstrong admitted to the cheating in a January 2013 televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

This is the last legal matter related to Armstrong’s doping, Peters said.

“I’m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life — my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition,” Armstrong said in a statement provided by Peters.

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The settlement also calls for Armstrong to pay $1.65 million for the court costs of his former teammate Landis, who also used performance-enhancing drugs and who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France championship.

 Landis originally brought the lawsuit in 2010 under a federal law, the False Claims Act, that lets whistle-blowers pursue fraud cases on behalf of the government, and obtain rewards if successful. Landis will receive $1.1 million as his share of the settlement.
The Justice Department joined the case in February 2013 after Amstrong’s public confession.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by Sandra Maler

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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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