First Amendment

Lance Armstrong is protected by First Amendment in fraud suit by readers of his books, judge rules

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong.

A federal judge in California has ruled for Lance Armstrong and his publishers in a suit that claims readers were duped into buying the cyclist’s books because of false claims that he never took performance-enhancing drugs.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England of Sacramento ruled (PDF) that the content of the books had full First Amendment protection, report USA Today and the Associated Press. England said marketing materials for the books were also protected as noncommercial speech because they were “inextricably intertwined with the books’ contents,” according to the USA Today account.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say consumers would not have bought Armstrong’s books if they knew his story about hard work leading to success was a “fairy tale.” The plaintiffs can file an amended complaint or appeal, though Morrison’s ruling “guts their case,” USA Today says.

Prior coverage: “Lance Armstrong faces class action re autobiography”

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