In 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice sued tobacco makers and others for lying about cigarettes — the addictiveness of nicotine, the link between smoking and health problems (including lung cancer), and the safety of "light" and "low tar" taters.  The government alleged that the defendants formed an illegal association-in-fact "enterprise" and engaged in a "pattern of racketeering activity" under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The case went to trial in September 2004.  The non-jury trial lasted nine months.  The government won.

Today, the D.C. Circuit upheld almost all of the judgment.  The opinion decides lots of issues, including whether the defendants could escape liability by claiming that nobody believed their lies and whether the first amendment protects deliberate falsehoods that aim to influence government decisions.  (Answer:  No.)  United States v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 06-5267 (D.C. Cir. May 22, 2009) (per curiam).

Blawgletter notes that A Great Many amici curiae chose to file briefs in support of the district court's judgment, including 35 or so state attorneys-general.  But not the Attorney General of Texas.  Huh?

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