Lance Armstrong’s reported confession to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling reign may help him in the court of public opinion, but it could cause issues in a real courtroom.
Armstrong probably won’t face criminal prosecution for coming clean, because it’s been more than seven years since he swore to tell the truth in court and then reportedly lied when he denied taking any banned drugs. That was at a hearing in Texas in 2005.
Read more: Oprah: Lance came ready for the interview
Federal prosecutors are required to bring criminal perjury cases within five years of the commission of an alleged crime, or in this case, when the lie was told. In Texas, prosecutors must bring a perjury case against a defendant within three years. The statutes of limitations have run out in both jurisdictions, and Armstrong is likely free from criminal liability.
But he’s not totally in the clear.
Now, civil court may be a whole new problem for Armstrong. The famed cyclist could face lawsuits based on fraud, breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty claims.
In Session legal analysts say Armstrong likely talked to his lawyers before deciding to confess, and they would have assessed his liability for him. But his confession still may have gone against their advice -- the exposure to civil liability may have been enough for some attorneys to recommend not coming clean to Oprah.