Department of Justice - tobacco company defendants indeed violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)...

Judge Gladys Kessler..
March 6, 2011 -

PM USA has "serious concerns" on Justice Dept.'s proposed "corrective statements", CSP Daily News, 32/25/2011.

Tobacco companies should admit in product warnings that they deceived the public about the dangers of smoking and manipulated their products to increase addiction, the Justice Department said Wednesday, March 2nd. The department, in the final phase of a long-running court case against leading tobacco companies, released a series of statements that it wants cigarette makers to publish about the dangers of their products.

In total, the department proposed three pages of statements that it wants the industry to publish. Many of the proposed statements essentially require the tobacco companies to say they deceived Congress and the public.

The Justice Department's submission Wednesday offered the language the agency wants included in those statements.The release of the proposed statements had been delayed because the government and the industry disagreed about when the information should be made public. Kessler ordered the information be released on Wednesday. The companies will have a chance to lodge legal objections to the government's proposal.

The Justice Department on Monday, February 1, 1999 asked for 20 million to launch its civil lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Attorney General Janet Reno said most of the money would be used to pay for 40 attorneys who would press the civil case, seeking recovery of federal funds used to treat tobaccorelated illnesses. Other officials said 5 million would be for the expected cost of expert witnesses. The Justice Department's long-running tobacco case dates back to 1999, when the Clinton administration alleged that nine tobacco companies and two related trade associations engaged in a 50-year conspiracy to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking. A nine-month trial took place in 2005.

Justice Department officials acknowledged the 20 million likely would be just a down payment on the case, which could take years to settle.

In his State of the Union address last month, President Clinton announced his intention to sue cigarette makers. But this is the first official indication of the size and cost of the governments planned effort. The lawsuit is intended to recover smokingrelated medical costs incurred through Medicare, Veterans Administration and military base hospitals, Native American medical programs and the Federal Employee Health Benefits program. Federal officials refuse to speculate about how much they may seek from the tobacco industry. They have not yet decided when, where or how they will initiate the legal action. Justice Department lawyers have only begun to explore potential legal approaches.(Justice Department wants 20 million to sue tobacco industry, CNN USA, 2/1/1999.

Judge Gladys Kessler serves on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She was appointed in July 1994. She was the judge who presided over the The U.S. Government's racketeering case against Big Tobacco.

The case lasted six years, and after 9 months of trial, hundreds of depositions and thousands of exhibits, on August 17, 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the Government had proven its case and found that the tobacco company defendants had indeed violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Judge Kessler ruled that:

* Defendants knew for fifty years or more that cigarette smoking caused disease, but repeatedly denied that smoking caused adverse health effects. Defendants publicly distorted and minimized the hazards of smoking for decades.
* Defendants concealed and suppressed research data and other evidence showing nicotine is addictive, and withheld information about their internal research on addiction, from the American public, the government, and the public health community, including the United States Surgeon General. The Defendants acted this way to maintain profits by keeping people smoking and attracting new consumers, to avoid iability, and prevent regulation of the industry.
* Defendants falsely denied that they can and do control the level of nicotine delivered to smokers to create and sustain addiction.
* Defendants falsely marketed and promoted low tar/"light" cigarettes as less harmful than "full flavor" cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain corporate revenues.
* From the 1950s to the present, different tobacco companies using different methods have intentionally marketed cigarettes to young people under the age of 21 in order to recruit "replacement smokers" who would ensure the future economic viability of the Tobacco Industry.
* Defendants publicly denied, while internally acknowledging, that secondhand tobacco smoke is hazardous to nonsmokers.
* At various times, Defendants attempted to, and did suppress and conceal scientific research and destroy documents relevant to their public and litigation positions.

In May, 2009, a U.S. federal Appeals Court upheld Judge Kessler's racketeering verdict. All three judges on the panel affirmed that evidence showed that the U.S. cigarette companies had systematically lied for decades to hide the dangers of smoking, and were guilty of fraud and conspiracy to mislead the public. (U.S. appeals court agrees tobacco companies lied by Diane Bartz, Reuters, 5/22/2009.

Tobacco Cos. Ask Judge to Dismiss Racketeering Case Say Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act eliminates need for court oversight, CSP Daily News, 3/7/2011.

Reference: DOJ Wants Tobacco Companies To Admit Their Deception, by Brent Kendall (brent.kendall@, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES,

Some related news briefs:
February 22, 2010 - U.S. federal govt and 3-cigarette makers asked the Supreme Court to review racketeering verdict..;
May 22, 21009 - U.S. appeals court fines tobacco companies lied..;



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