Judge calls Armstrong's request 'abuse' of system

Updated: June 21, 2004, 11:59 AM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- A court Monday rejected Lance Armstrong's attempt to force a publisher to insert the star cyclist's denial of doping allegations into copies of a new book about him.

Armstrong, a five-time Tour de France winner, wanted publisher La Martiniere to insert a notice into "L.A. Confidential, the Secrets of Lance Armstrong," with his rebuttal against doping claims in the book.

But judge Catherine Bezio called Armstrong's request an "abuse" of the legal system and ordered him to pay the authors and publisher a symbolic $1.20 fine.

The French-language book, which hit bookstores in France last week, was written by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester and relies in part on allegations by a former Armstrong assistant, Emma O'Reilly.

In it, she claims that he once asked her to dispose of used syringes and to give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his right arm. She said that she didn't know what was in the syringes.

Thibault de Montbrial, a lawyer for the publisher and authors, praised the judge's decision, noting Armstrong could have made the doping denial when the authors requested to talk to him. They say Armstrong and his staff did not return their calls.

In a hearing Friday, Armstrong lawyer Christian Charriere-Bournazel accused the book's authors of "dumping a load of garbage … onto an immense champion" just weeks before the start of the 2004 Tour.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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