Judge rejects Armstrong’s doping denial bid

PARIS: A French judge on Monday rejected a bid by American cycling star Lance Armstrong to insert a denial against accusations of doping published in a book which was released last week.  

Armstrong, 33, seeking a record sixth consecutive Tour de France in July, has vowed that he intends to take legal action over the book “L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong” by award-winning Sunday Times journalist David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, a cycling specialist formerly with French sports daily L'Equipe, which alleges he used banned drugs.  

Armstrong's lawyer Christian Charriere-Bournazel told AFP later on Monday he had appealed the ruling. “I am very disappointed,” he said. “I don't share the court's view.” 

Charriere-Bournazel said he hoped the appeal would take place by the end of the week or at the start of next week.  

The book focuses on statements attributed to Emma O'Reilly, a physiotherapist who worked with Armstrong from 1998-2000. O'Reilly claims Armstrong used the banned blood booster EPO.  

During a hearing last Friday, Armstrong's lawyers slammed the book as “sensationalist” and an attack on the rider's character.  

But lawyers acting on behalf of French publishers La Martiniere defended the book and argued that finding in favour of the plaintiff would signal the end of investigative journalism.  

The judge found that allowing such an insertion by Armstrong would “obviously be an infringement of the respective rights” of the authors and the publisher.”  

La Martiniere's lawyer Arnault de Montbrial told AFP that his clients were “very satisfied” with the judge's decision.  

He said that Armstrong had been ordered to pay one euro in damages to the defendants for “abusive procedure” and costs amounting to 1,500 euros. – AFP  

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