Monday :: Jun 20, 2005

Bush Administration Wanted Its Own Witness To Go Easy On Big Tobacco


by Steve

Yes, the government’s tanking of its racketeering case against Big Tobacco was politically hijacked. The Post reports this morning that one of the government’s expert witnesses reveals that he was told before his testimony to water down his recommendations or risk being removed from the case.

Harvard University business professor Max H. Bazerman said a career trial lawyer told him senior Justice officials wanted him to change his recommendation that the court appoint a monitor to review whether it was appropriate to remove senior tobacco company management. Bazerman said the lawyer was passing along the "strong request" the week before Bazerman was to take the witness stand on May 4 in the government's landmark racketeering case against the industry.
Bazerman said the lawyer told him the change -- opposed by the career lawyers on the case -- had come from Justice Department senior litigation counsel Frank J. Marine and Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum Jr.

Yup, the same two guys who took over the case from the career prosecutors when the Administration wanted to suddenly go easy on Big Tobacco. McCallum, as we have reported before, is a former R. J. Reynolds lawyer now protecting his former employer while drawing a government paycheck. Marine appears to be simply gunning for a promotion by being a toady.

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