Justice Reverses: Lobbying Effort Wins Turnabout On Tobacco Suit

Thursday, 9/24/99, p. B1
by David Cloud, Gordon Fairclough, and Ann Davis
[continued from Index page back]

[Provided by Tobacco Daily News Summaries]
The WALL STREET JOURNAL takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the Justice Department arrived at its decision to file a civil lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

From the lobbying efforts of trial lawyer Richard Scruggs, to President Clinton's surprising announcement during his State of the Union speech, to around-the-clock research by Justice Department lawyers, the WALL STREET JOURNAL looks at developments which convinced Attorney General Janet Reno to approve the lawsuit, including the bold use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute.

The article also explains why the Justice Department's criminal investigation of the tobacco industry was unsuccessful. Several setbacks included: Brown & Williamson convincing a judge to deny the government access to certain company documents; Philip Morris scientists, who had been granted immunity, revealing little to the grand jury; and several prosecutors were worried about charging the tobacco industry with making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration, which at the time of the statements did not have authority over the industry.

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