Advertise:   712.224.5420

Judge holds settlement talks in tobacco industry case

The federal judge handling the federal government's tobacco industry case held closed-door settlement talks on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler called the conference last week amid heightened scrutiny of the case. News reports have questioned whether the Bush administration sought lesser penalties against the industry for political reasons.

Lawyers for the two sides first met in private for about 25 minutes with Kessler, who ordered that the talks be kept secret. Then they were holed up in separate rooms for 90 more minutes as a mediator carried messages between them, according to news reports.

Citing a recent court ruling, Department of Justice lawyers dropped their claim for $280 billion in tobacco profits to $130 billion then to $10 billion. The decision was made by political appointees, including one with ties to the tobacco industry.

Get the Story:
Judge in Tobacco Case Urges Settlement (The Washington Post 6/21)
Settlement Talks Start, Slowly, for U.S. and Cigarette Makers (The New York Times 6/21)

Relevant Links:
Tobacco Litigation -

Related Stories:
DOJ pressured witness in tobacco industry case (6/20)
DOJ lawyers worried about politics in tobacco case (6/16)
Brief in tobacco case argued for tough penalties (6/15)
DOJ to probe change of tactics in tobacco case (6/14)
DOJ changes tactics again in tobacco industry case (6/10)
DOJ defends seeking $10B in tobacco industry case (6/9)
U.S. seeks $10B, instead of $130B, in tobacco case (6/8)
Surgeon General testifies in U.S. tobacco case (05/04)
Cancer among Minnesota Indians extremely high (04/20)
Kansas study shows disparities in minority health (04/14)
Effort seeks to reduce smoking among Natives (11/19)
HHS institutes tobacco-free policy at buildings (11/12)
Chippewa Cree Tribe to unveil anti-smoking campaign (08/03)
Alaska Natives combat tobacco use among young, old (06/28)
CDC: Smoking rates highest among Native Americans (02/02)
Survey finds high-risk behaviors among BIA students (11/13)
Smoking rates among Natives highest in nation (10/10)
Study links childhood experience to alcohol abuse (09/19)
Indian Country tops drug report again (9/17)
Native youth top drug use survey again (09/06)
Native youth targeted in anti-drug ads (5/17)
Native youth heaviest smokers in nation (4/3)
Report: Native youth highest drug users (10/5)
Tribal tobacco challenges dismissed (9/5)
CDC: Indian mothers heaviest smokers (8/29)
Tribal challenge to big tobacco dismissed (7/17)
Report: Native women heaviest smokers (3/28)
Smoking in Indian Country (3/28)
Ad campaign targets youth drug use (9/7)
Drug use high among Native youth (9/1)