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No Hearing in Armstrong Defamation Case
A criminal court refused to hear a defamation brought by Italian cyclist Filippo Simeoni against Lance Armstrong. Judicial officials said Monday the statute of limitations had expired in the case against the seven-time Tour de France winner. The court said Simeoni's lawyers misinterpreted French law. Armstrong, quoted in an April 2003 report in the online edition of French daily Le Monde, contended that Simeoni had agreed to testify against doctor Michele Ferrari in exchange for a lesser penalty if the Italian rider were accused of doping by the sport's governing body. Ferrari received a suspended jail sentence for a year in October 2004 for sports fraud and malpractice. Ferrari once advised Armstrong but the star cyclist cut his ties with him after the doctor was convicted. Armstrong faces a March 7 trial in Italy on civil charges of defaming Simeoni. Armstrong is being investigated for pursuing the Italian during a stage of last year's Tour de France and reportedly threatening him for testifying about doping in a trial of Ferrari.

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