(CBS News) Lance Armstrong's admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs has exposed the cyclist to potentially severe legal trouble, CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford said on "CBS This Morning.
Ford said, in particular, the federal criminal investigation into Armstrong's history with the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored his racing career, may be resurrected.
Ford said, "(Armstrong's team) got some $30 million from the Postal Service here. ... If I'm (Armstrong's) lawyer, I'm more worried that if he comes out and admits to doing this, the federal government might take another hard look at this and say maybe, 'OK, yes, civil suits, but maybe also there's a criminal prosecution on the horizon here we have to look at'."
The initial investigation into potential fraud -- that centered on the cyclist's continued denial of using performance-enhancing drugs -- was dropped a year ago. No reason was given for that decision.
Ford said he believes there were "significant battles" going on inside Armstrong's camp over his decision to speak with Oprah Winfrey. He explained, "Public relations people probably saying, 'Look, you need to take control of the story, move forward, we're a forgiving nation. If you want to be able to do things and resurrect your image, you have to apologize and get it out there.' I have to believe his lawyers were saying, you know, 'That's a terrible idea because, legally, you now are going to be exposing yourself to all sorts of civil suits, enormous amounts of money, and even the possibility of the resurrection of a criminal investigation."
The Justice Department has "enormous pressure" in a whistleblower lawsuit started by Armstrong's fellow cyclist Floyd Landis. "If, in fact, he is admitting -- Lance Armstrong is admitting doing this, he is exposing himself to all sorts of money," Ford said. "And the Justice Department doesn't want to be left out. ... My guess is they'll sign up for this and then figure it out afterwards. But all of these timeframes I'm sure are moving this forward. But the bottom line is you're going to see an awful lot of negotiation taking place between him and his representatives."
For more on the legal side of Armstrong's admission, watch Ford's full interview in the player above.