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Judge Dismisses Lance Armstrong Suit Seeking To Block Anti-Doping Hearing

Lance Armstrong competes in the Ironman Panama 70.3. triathlon in Panama City, Panama.
Arnulfo Franco
Lance Armstrong competes in the Ironman Panama 70.3. triathlon in Panama City, Panama.

Update at 5:58 p.m. ET. Lawsuit Dismissed:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong that sought to stop a USADA hearing into accusations of doping. The AP reports:

"U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled just hours later. He criticized Armstrong's attorneys for filing an 80-page complaint the judge says seems more intended to whip up public opinion for his case than focus on the legal argument.

"Sparks, however, did not decide on the merits of Armstrong's case and said he can refile his lawsuit."

That is perhaps best boiled down by Andrew Cohen, a legal analyst for 60 Minutes. Cohen tweeted:

"Judge in Lance Armstrong case dimissses complaint (without prejudice) because it's too long, 'a bitter polemic' and 'mostly unnecessary.'"

Our Original Post Continues:

Lance Armstrong has asked a federal court for an injunction against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has formally charged Armstrong of taking performance enhancing drugs.

The Washington Post reports that in an 80-page complaint filed in Austin, Armstrong "alleges that USADA and CEO Travis Tygart don't have the jurisdiction to attempt to charge him with being a central player in a massive sports doping conspiracy, yet have done so while violating his constitutional rights, breaking the organization's own rules and possibly breaking federal laws."

When the USADA charged Armstrong, they said he had 10 days to decide whether he would fight the charges or accept guilt and be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

In the complaint (.doc), Armstrong asks the federal court to put that deadline on hold while it weighs the merits of his lawsuit.

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the USADA had lined up several of Armstrong's former teammates to testify against him. Among them is George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie.

Hincapie rode with Armstrong for all his seven Tour de France wins so would be a critical witness. Some of Armstrong's other teammates have made comments in the past. Tyler Hamilton gave an interview to 60 Minutes last year in which he made doping allegations. Hamilton said he saw EPO, a performance enhancing drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells, in Armstrong's refrigerator and "saw him inject it more than one time."

USA Today reports that Armstrong said the USADA process is unfair and called the process a "kangaroo court." The paper also talked to Tygart, of the USADA. They report:

"Tygart said Armstrong's lawsuit is 'aimed at concealing the truth' and predicted a judge will rule in the agency's favor.

"'USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity,' he said in a statement received by USA TODAY Sports. 'We are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport.'"

"USADA, created in 2000 and recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States, formally charged Armstrong in June with taking performance-enhancing drugs and participating in a vast doping conspiracy on his Tour de France winning teams, some of which were sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service."

Correction at 2:04 p.m. ET. An earlier version of this post said George Hincapie gave an interview to 60 Minutes. It was in fact, Tyler Hamilton, another of Armstrong's teammates who gave that interview.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.