Entertainment & Arts

Lance Armstrong sued over 'lies' in books

Lance Armstrong celebrates after winning the 2000 Tour de France
Image caption Armstrong celebrates after winning the 2000 Tour de France

Lance Armstrong is being sued for fraud and false advertising amid claims his inspirational books are full of lies.

Two men launched a legal action in California after the disgraced cyclist's confession to Oprah Winfrey that he was a serial drug cheat.

The pair claimed they were "duped" and "betrayed" by the two books, which detail how Armstrong overcame cancer to win seven Tour de France titles.

Lawyers for publishers Penguin said the case should be thrown out.

The two men named in the suit are Rob Stutzman, who served as a deputy chief of staff for former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jonathan Wheeler, a chef and amateur cyclist.

They said they bought the books, It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, because they believed Armstrong's heroic tale of returning to compete drug-free after battling testicular cancer.

Stutzman and Wheeler said they felt "duped", "cheated" and "betrayed" following the Winfrey TV interviews, which showed the books - billed as as inspirational true-life memoirs - were filled with untruths.

Image caption Armstrong admitted to being a serial drug cheat on The Oprah Winfrey Show

The lawsuit stated: "Although Stutzman does not buy or read many books, he found Armstrong's book incredibly compelling and recommended the book to several friends."

Court documents go on to reveal the public relations consultant had met Armstrong when the cyclist visited then-Governor Schwarzenegger.

"At that time, Stutzman thanked defendant Armstrong for writing his book and told him it was very inspiring. In response, Armstrong thanked Stutzman."

The lawsuit accuses Armstrong and his publishers, Penguin and Random House, of violating consumer protection laws on false advertising and fraud by selling the books as works of non-fiction.

Penguin will be represented by the firm Dorsey & Whitney. Dorsey partner Jonathan Herman said: "As far as we're concerned, this is a case that should be dismissed."

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