Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Were They Smoking?

When the sordid, rank history of the George W. Bush administration finally is written in full, future generations will ask themselves, "What were they smoking?"

Part of the answer, apparently, is tobacco:

The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.

Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.
* * *
Two weeks before closing arguments in June, McCallum called for a meeting with Eubanks and her deputy, Stephen Brody, to discuss what McCallum described as "getting the number down" for the $130 billion penalty to create smoking-cessation programs. Brody declined to comment yesterday on the legal team's deliberations, saying that they were private.
* * *
The most stressful moment, Eubanks said, came when the three appointees ordered her to read word for word a closing argument they had rewritten. The statement explained the validity of seeking a $10 billion penalty.

"I couldn't even look at the judge," she said.

Equally amazing is that the 'Bushies' in the Justice Department still can look at themselves in the mirror.

1 comment:

Ledgerman said...

Do you know how EMBARRASSING it is for a lawyer to have to READ his final argument to a judge or jury? It is a sign of a new lawyer right of law school or an old one who is senile. For a U.S. ATTORNEY to be ordered to do that is beyond the pale.