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US now seeking only fraction of original penalty in tobacco case

[JURIST] Lawyers for the US Department of Justice Tuesday asked for less than one-tenth of the expected penalty in a civil racketeering case against major tocacco companies. At the conclusion of closing arguments [JURIST report; US DOJ press statement], government lawyer Stephen D. Brody asked for just $10 billion of the original $130 billion dollar penalty calculated for what the US contends was a half-century long conspiracy aimed at addicting and defrauding smokers. A lawyer for defendant Philip Morris USA [corporate website] expressed surprise at the move and said it was "clear the government hasn't thought through what it's doing." Anti-smoking advocates also denounced the move as "a self-inflicted blow" that would decrease the chances of helping smokers in need. A ruling is expected in the next few months. The Department of Justice has documents and background material on the tobacco litigation. The Washington Post has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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