Armstrong could face jail for perjury

In the only sworn testimony Lance Armstrong has ever made denying that he doped — recorded in 2005, but broadcast on television for the first time on Monday night — the seven-time Tour de France winner was adamant he never cheated and referenced how it would jeopardise the ''faith of all the cancer survivors around the world''.

Armstrong also denied, under oath in 2005, that he had ever received a blood transfusion.

His statements, aired by ABC TV's Four Corners program, could see him condemned with the criminal offence of perjury and possibly land him in jail.

Attorney Jeff Tillotson remains the only lawyer who has extracted testimony from Armstrong under oath. The evidence Tillotson got from Armstrong in a case in 2005 was critical in investigations that ultimately led to the US Anti-Doping Agency's life-time ban of the one-time hero.

Tillotson represented a Dallas-based insurer that Armstrong successfully pursued for millions of dollars worth of bonuses after he won successive Tours de France. The insurer initially refused to pay Armstrong some of the bonuses because it claimed the Tour was fixed. The basis of that claim was that it believed there was compelling evidence that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs to win his fourth, fifth and sixth Tours.

Questioned by Tillotson under oath about using drugs, Armstrong passionately disputed the claim.

The sitting, which was filmed, began with Tillotson asking Armstrong: ''You understand that although we're in the conference room of your lawyers, you are giving testimony as if you are in a court of law? Do you understand that?''

Armstrong replied: ''Correct.''

Tillotson then said: ''And the penalties of perjury attach to this deposition just like they would to a court of law proceeding.''

To which Armstrong replied: ''Of course.''

In the sworn testimony, Armstrong acknowledged what would be at stake if he took performance-enhancing drugs.

Asked about sponsorship agreements, the cyclist replied: ''All of them. And the faith of all the cancer survivors around the world. So everything I do off the bike would go away too. And don't think for a second I don't understand that. It's not about money for me. Everything. It's also about the faith that people have put in me over the years, so all of that would be erased. So I don't need it to say in a contract, 'you're fired if you test positive'. That's not as important as losing the support of hundreds of millions of people.''

Tillotson told Four Corners: ''Whether it's a blessing or a curse, I remain the only lawyer to ... have actually taken sworn testimony from Lance Armstrong and to have had him deny, under oath, with the penalty of perjury that he used performance-enhancing drugs.''

The ABC program tracked the genesis of Armstrong's doping back to former professional New Zealand cyclist Stephen Swart, who rode with Armstrong on the American Motorola team.

According to Swart, riders started complaining in 1995, when Australian Phil Anderson had left the Motorola team, that their European rivals were doping.

In a sworn statement, Swart has recalled a conversation he had with Armstrong where the pair discussed the ''need'' to take EPO in order to be competitive. 

Armstrong has previously denied that conversation.

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