Tobacco Industry Let Off Hook

The tobacco industry was given a major break last week by the U.S. Justice Department. During the closing statements of a six-year-old lawsuit that was on the verge of fining the tobacco industry $130 billion, Justice Department lawyer Stephen D. Brody unexpectedly announced the U.S. Government wanted to reduce the fines by 90%. Sources close to the case, including government officials, say trial lawyers reduced their demands due to pressure from the Bush Administration's Attorney General's office, which has recently held several closed door meetings with the tobacco industry.

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