AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) - The U.S. Justice Department is joining the lawsuit against Lance Armstrong initially filed two years ago by one of the disgraced cyclist's former teammates, NBC News reported Friday.
"The Justice Department will notify a federal court Friday that it is joining one of his former racing teammates in suing him for using performance enhancing drugs during the Tour de France," the report said.
On Tursday, The Associated Press reported that the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency lobbied Attorney General Eric Holder for the Justice Department to join a whistle-blower lawsuit on the same day the cyclist confessed in an interview to performance-enhancing drug use.
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart wrote Holder on Jan. 14, urging him to join the civil case and telling Holder that "fraud and other crimes were committed" by Armstrong and other members of his former U.S. Postal Service teams.
It was not clear if Holder responded, but the Justice Department has not yet formally announced it if will join the lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis.
Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, accuses Armstrong of committing fraud against the Postal Service, which sponsored most of Armstrong's teams as the star rider used PEDs to win the Tour a record seven times.
Landis also was a key witness in a USADA investigation last year that exposed Armstrong's doping. He stands to collect a portion — potentially millions of dollars — of any possible financial penalties against Armstrong.
The letter is dated the same day Armstrong admitted his drug use to Oprah Winfrey in a television interview that was broadcast on Jan. 17 and Jan. 18. USADA officials had been urging him to speak under oath with its investigators if he hoped to have his lifetime ban reduced.
The letter was first reported Thursday by Velonews.com and The Associated Press independently obtained a copy from a person familiar with the case.
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