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Statement by American Legacy Foundation(R): Findings of Decades of Massive Fraud by Tobacco Industry Upheld in U.S. Court of Appeals
Date:5/22/2009

WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Legacy Foundation(R) applauds today's unanimous decision in U.S. v. Philip Morris, et, al. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the U.S. District Court's findings that the tobacco industry engaged in a pattern of widespread fraud and deception with deadly health effects for the American public - for a period of more than 50 years.

In referring to the lower court decision, the three judge panel found "the [lower] court had before it sufficient evidence from which to conclude that Defendants' executives, who directed the activities for the Defendant corporations and their joint entities, knew about the negative health consequences of smoking, the addictiveness and manipulation of nicotine, the harmfulness of secondhand smoke, and the concept of smoker compensation, which makes light cigarettes no less harmful that regular cigarettes and possibly more."

The ruling continued: "The Government presented evidence indicating that specific high-ranking corporate officials were directly informed about these matters, as well as evidence of pervasive knowledge and acceptance of these propositions throughout the Defendant organizations," a reference to specific tobacco companies and entities named in the lawsuit.

This decision overwhelmingly affirms findings of liability and remedies by the lower court - findings that are especially damning for the tobacco industry. However, we regret that the Court upheld the lower court decision that the remedies available under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) were limited and cannot be forward looking. The Foundation hopes that the Department of Justice will continue its strong advocacy on behalf of the victims of this massive fraud, as well as future victims of tobacco addiction and disease.

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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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