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Thursday, January 21, 1999

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  • Tobacco Lawsuits

    President Clinton announced in his State Of The Union address that the Justice Department is preparing to sue tobacco companies to recover money spent by Medicare and other federal health programs to treat smoking-related illnesses. The announcement sent shock waves through the tobacco industry, whose main companies just two months ago agreed to pay $206 billion to 46 states. Under the settlement terms, the companies also agreed to restrict their advertising and marketing.

  • Gun Lawsuits

    Tobacco litigation has become more successful of late. Lawsuits against the companies now center on the public cost of tobacco-related illnesses and on negligent marketing strategies on the part of big tobacco. These same strategies are being tested in the fight to make gun manufactures liable for the costs it inflicts on society. So far, Chicago and New Orleans have sued the gun industry for health and other social costs caused by handgun violence, and many other cities are also preparing to file suit.

  • President Clinton’s Defense

    In a methodical rebuttal to House prosecutors, White House lawyers yesterday deconstructed the allegations against President Clinton, calling them "trivial" disputes and distorted evidence. For a second day, defense lawyers poked holes in the case against the president, complaining that prosecutors had not even specified which of the president’s statements constituted perjury. White House Counsel Gregory Craig said that this lack of specific allegations in effect creates a moving target, against which the president is expected to defend himself.