As Lance Armstrong makes his televised mea culpa the lawyers are preparing the array of lawsuits that face the fallen legend from a troupe of out-of-sorts parties.
So who are likely to lead the pack when it comes to suing Armstrong following his confessions to Oprah Winfrey?
In some respects it’s a question of ‘take your pick’. There are so many potential litigants that is a little difficult picking the one who might wear the yellow jersey home with the first big money law victory.
Professor Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco believes he could face a massive financial penalty following the Oprah confessions.
The admissions could force out of court settlements and could lead to US authorities taking legal action as well.
Texas-based SCA Promotions plans to file a lawsuit for fraud against the disgraced cyclist for $12 million after insuring performance bonuses to Armstrong for his tour de France wins in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
An SCA statement said: “While SCA is pleased that Mr Armstrong has finally come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs and shown the world that SCA was right all along, the fact remains that SCA suffered substantial damage as a result of Mr Armstrong misleading the world about his use of banned substances.
“Therefore we will continue to pursue our legal options for the return of the prize amounts that were paid to Mr Armstrong under fraudulent circumstances.”
SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson said he could file a lawsuit in the coming days.
Then there is the US Government, which could take legal action against Armstrong for perjury, fraud and other offenses following his denial under oath. These comments, from Brian Socolow of Loeb & Loeb
For the civil charges, the Justice Department has until Thursday to join a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis to recuperate public funds disbursed to his US Postal team, a source close to the matter said.
A court document shows that Landis’s complaint has recourse to the False Claims Act, allowing an individual to file a lawsuit against someone else or against a company for having lied to the federal government.
The text allows the accuser to pocket 15 to 30 per cent of the funds recuperated by the government.
The government spent more than $30 million sponsoring US Postal, according to The Wall Street Journal. Experts say the government can seek three times that amount.
The Justice Department refused comment on any possible lawsuits, whether civil or criminal. But a source close to the matter said there was no risk of criminal prosecution.
Experts, however, say criminal charges could come if Armstrong admits to more than just doping and confesses to distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
“I don’t think the government — or a majority of the American people — have the stomach for a criminal suit,” in light of Armstrong’s widespread popularity, said Jordan Kobritz, who chairs the Sport Management Department at the State University of New York at Cortland.
The government has had lackluster success with perjury cases against athletes who testified under oath about using illegal drugs, Socolow said.