Lance Armstrong's 'Tell-All' Interview Could Be A Costly Mistake

The cyclist Lance Armstrong could lose much more than his already ravaged reputation if he confesses to doping this week during a television interview with Oprah Winfrey -- he could end up in jail.

The disgraced Texan's decision to talk to the famed US talk show host has divided opinion, as some say he needs to do something radical to rehabilitate his public profile, while others say speaking out will only make matters worse.

The crux of the matter is whether Armstrong, having been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, will finally admit that he was a drugs cheat. Such a confession would overturn more than a decade of strenuous denials.

"If I were his lawyer, I'd be telling him not to do it. I think he's crazy," said Peter Keane, law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, of the cyclist's decision to give the interview, which will be aired Thursday.

"He's in considerable jeopardy of some sort of criminal prosecution... for which he could go to prison," Keane said.

The threats to Armstrong's liberty stem from the fallen icon's role in the US Postal Service team, where he spent his most successful years in the saddle.

Having been paid by the government, the former team leader could face criminal charges for making fraudulent statements to his bosses.

He could also be accused of perjury over disclosures made under oath to a US federal jury in 2005. If convicted, each false statement could lead to five years in jail.

Armstrong has always maintained that he did not use banned substances during his stellar career, but in August last year he chose not to contest charges put forward by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that he was a serial drugs cheat.

The pitfalls of speaking to Winfrey, considered the favored TV forum for "tell all" confessional style interviews, appear to have been weighed, and a decision taken that it is worthwhile to reveal something new.
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