Gonzales and McCallum Wanted Only $6 Billion From Big Tobacco, Not $10 Billion
An update on the efforts by senior political appointees in the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department to tank a racketeering case against Big Tobacco:
It turns out that former tobacco industry lawyer and current Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum ordered his trial team to lower their penalty request the day of the summation to not $10 billion from $130 billion, but to only $6 billion! His own trial team argued with him that day about how bad this would make the government look, and was able to get McCallum to agree to the $10 billion figure.
And as for those arguments that the administration was simply tanking their case to comply with an appeals court decision, note that three months after the appeals court decision the administration filed court papers on May 12th showing how the $130 billion proposed settlement complied with the appeals court decision. It wasn’t until McCallum and Gonzales realized that Big Tobacco could really get stuck with a $130 billion penalty that the order came down the day of the summations to scuttle the case.