Interviews

G. ROBERT BLAKEY

Professor Blakey is a former federal prosecutor and the author of the federal RICO statute, which has been used to prosecute members of the mob. He was hired by Ronald Motley to develop the civil racketeering portion of the Texas and Florida Medicaid cases. Both states ended up settling their cases, but the racketeering element of the cases threatened the tobacco companies with bankruptcy. Blakey compares the structure of the cigarette industry to the structure of the Mafia and recommends using RICO laws to criminally prosecute the industry. He is currently a Professor of Law at Notre Dame University.

Dr. Stanton Glantz

Professor Glantz has been a long-time critic of tobacco and is a leader in the anti-tobacco public health community. In 1994, more than 4,000 pages of secret internal tobacco industry documents mysteriously arrived at Glantz's office at the University of California. They were sent by a secret source, "Mr. Butts." Dr. Glantz posted them on the Internet and compiled them into a book, "The Cigarette Papers."

Glantz has lobbied extensively in California for reform of cigarette laws and with other local activists was responsible for the passage of the ban on cigarette smoking in bars. Glantz is opposed to a national settlement and believes that the cigarette industry can never be trusted to comply with any national deal.

Dr. Gary Huber

Dr. Gary Huber was a scientific researcher for the tobacco industry for many years. His emphysema project at Harvard University was paid for directly by the tobacco law firm of Shook, Hardy and Bacon. When Ron Motley approached Huber with internal documents that described his project as a public relations ploy, Huber became a witness against the tobacco industry in the Medicaid lawsuit cases. Dr. Huber's story outlines how the tobacco industry controlled and manipulated scientific research.

Dr. David Kessler

Dr. Kessler was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under Presidents Bush and Clinton. He began looking into the regulation of nicotine as a drug and was instrumental in convincing Clinton to enact tough federal regulation of tobacco. The tobacco industry fought this in a North Carolina court. The FDA won. Kessler has been generally opposed to settlement with the tobacco industry and supports tough legislation against advertising to children.

Bennett Lebow

Bennett LeBow is the CEO of the Brooke Group which owns Liggett Tobacco, the smallest of the six major tobacco companies. LeBow stunned his counterparts at Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson, RJR Nabisco, Loews and Lorillard when he broke ranks and announced he would settle the Medicaid suits brought by forty state attorneys general. He also revealed that he was cooperating with the Justice Department in its criminal investigation of the tobacco industry.

John McCain

Senator John McCain [R-AZ] has proposed legislation requiring tobacco companies to pay $516 billion dollars over 25 years, increase the price of cigarettes by $1.10 per pack by 2003 and give the Federal Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate nicotine as a drug. The legislation has been repeatedly endorsed by President Clinton.

McCain says the tobacco companies haven't told the complete truth to the American people. He also believes they were trying to maximize their profits and there have been occasions when they targeted people that they shouldn't have. Nevertheless, he feels that making a deal with the companies instead of bankrupting them is the best way to move forward.

Michael Moore

Michael Moore is the Attorney General of Mississippi. After a suggestion from Mississippi attorney Mike Lewis, Moore developed the idea of suing the tobacco industry to recover Medicaid costs paid by the state in treating sick smokers. He hired Dick Scruggs, an old buddy from Ole Mississippi Law School to research and develop the case.

The two of them, nicknamed Scro and Mo, then took their idea on the road and convinced other attorneys general around the country to sue the tobacco industry. Their efforts ultimately got the tobacco industry to the bargaining table and led to the June 20, 1997 national settlement agreement. This agreement provided the basis for the current debate in Congress over national tobacco legislation.

Dick Morris

Dick Morris was once described in Time magazine as the most influential private citizen in America. He has worked in election campaigning for more than twenty years and was a political advisor to Clinton in 1978 when he was Arkansas governor. As a special advisor to President Clinton, Morris met with him on a regular basis in the Treaty Room at the White House. After being battered by the Republicans taking control of Congress in 1994, the president was looking for issues on which he could take the offense. But Clinton had grave reservations about taking on the powerful tobacco industry.

Ron Motley

Ron Motley is a nationally famous plaintiff's attorney. His career was launched when he successfully sued the asbestos industry and forced them into bankruptcy. Richard Scruggs contacted him when the tobacco litigation started and Motley became an integral part of the trial team. He is a courtroom lawyer, famous for swashbuckling courtroom antics.

His Charleston, South Carolina law firm has gathered the legal battle tools necessary to defeat the tobacco industry, including hundreds of thousands of documents, whistleblowers, and damaging depositions. If the national settlement does not succeed, Ron Motley will be trying the state Medicaid cases around the country.

Matthew Myers

Matt Myers is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids, a Washington based anti-tobacco lobbying group. As a long-time critic of the tobacco industry, Myers confounded his fellow health advocates when he joined the negotiations for a national settlement with the industry.

Steve Parrish

Steve Parrish is the Senior Vice President of Philip Morris and on many occasions has acted as a spokesman for the entire tobacco industry. Before joining Philip Morris, he was an industry lawyer with the Kansas City firm of Shook, Hardy and Bacon. He was a member of the Committee of Counsel and was the trial attorney in the Cippalone case.

Richard Scruggs

Richard Scruggs and Michael Moore have been the lead negotiators for the national settlement. After Moore suggested the idea of the Medicaid cases, Scruggs became Moore's partner and together they gathered the elements needed to bring Big Tobacco to the negotiating table. Scruggs first became successful in national class action suits against the asbestos industry.

 

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