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Are Lance Armstrong's Lies Protected Under the First Amendment?

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PopWrapped

09/12/2013 2:30 am
Are Lance Armstrong's Lies Protected Under the First Amendment?

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Shems Abdelwahab


Staff Writer

A federal Judge in California ruled in favour of Lance Armstrong, who pled the first Amendment in his highly publicized books lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against the disgraced athlete under the state’s consumer protection laws. Angry readers felt that “Every Second Counts” and “It’s not about the Bike” were means of inspiration for them, which had an adverse effect on them following Armstrong’s admittance to using dope for most of his career.

Armstrong vehemently denied doping for years, but admitted this January in an interview with Oprah that he had used it for most of his races. The confession was brought on by a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, reports the National Post.

The books lawsuit accused Armstrong as well as Random House and Penguin Publishing of fraud, false advertising, and claimed the books should have been labelled as fiction instead of non-fiction.

Zia Modabber, Armstrong’s Attorney, said “The fact Lance didn’t tell the truth about whether or not he doped, does not make the entire story of his life fiction.”

U.S District Judge Morrison England issued the ruling this week after a month of trial in Sacramento.

"The Court concludes, despite plaintiffs’ allegations that the Armstrong books contained false and misleading statements, that the content of the books is afforded full First Amendment protection," Englandwrote.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Armstrong’s lies are not protected under freedom of speech because it allowed for books to be bought which otherwise would not have had Armstrong told the truth.

England rejected this argument, and instead said, “The promotional materials relating to the Books are inextricably intertwined with the books’ contents, which is non-commercial speech…thus, these promotional materials are also entitled to full First Amendment protection as non-commercial speech.”

Armstrong’s career is the subject of The Armstrong Lie, a documentary film by the Academy-Award winning director, Alex Gibney, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

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