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U.S. Says It Has No Plans To Charge Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong during a January interview with Oprah Winfrey regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career.
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Lance Armstrong during a January interview with Oprah Winfrey regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career.

The Department of Justice said today that it was sticking by its decision not to pursue any charges against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

"We made a decision on that case a little over a year ago. Obviously, we've been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong in other media reports. That does not change my view at this time," André Birotte, a U.S. attorney based in Los Angeles, said according to Reuters.

It was in February of 2012 — after two years of investigations — that prosecutors announced they were dropping the case against the United States Postal Service squad. At the time, prosecutors did not give any reason for dropping the case.

Ever since Armstrong came clean about his doping in an interview with Oprah there's been rampant speculation about federal charges. Birotte was asked about Armstrong during a press conference organized by the DOJ to announce a lawsuit against the credit ratings agency S&P.

In another related note: Armstrong's attorney said despite the fact that Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles, he does not have to pay back his bonus money.

USA Today reports:

"The company that paid the bonuses said it expects to file a lawsuit against Armstrong this week to get its money back. But Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, sees it differently. He compared the situation to other sports figures who were suspended for various infractions but did not have to give back their paychecks.

"'My only point is no athlete ever, to my understanding, has ever gone back and paid back his compensation,' Herman said. 'Not (New Orleans Saints coach) Sean Payton or anybody else. They were suspended, but nobody said you've got to give your paycheck back.'"

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