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The Verdict Is In: Findings From United States v. Philip Morris Collection
“The debate is over.” That’s what the Surgeon General said upon releasing the landmark 2006 Surgeon General’s Report on the hazards of secondhand smoke. Now another debate is over. The historic legal decision from which this publication is drawn—the Final Opinion in United States v. Philip Morris, the government’s massive racketeering case against cigarette manufacturers—lays to rest any lingering doubt about who’s behind the global tobacco epidemic.
After six years of litigation, nine months of trial, hundreds of depositions and thousands of exhibits, the verdict is in. A highly-respected impartial jurist, the Honorable Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, has studied the evidence and rendered the definitive ruling on the tobacco industry’s fifty-year conspiracy to defraud America and the world. Importantly, the ruling strips away the pretense that these companies have reformed their ways. In one area after another, the Court finds, the fraud continues to this day.
Judge Kessler’s monumental Opinion is a masterpiece of legal scholarship: clear, thorough and compelling. Its only shortcoming is its length. With so much deceit to chronicle, the Opinion is longer than a Russian novel—more than 1700 pages, in fact. Its heft alone is enough to deter most readers. That’s why we’ve prepared this publication, a distillation of verbatim excerpts from the decision, to equip policymakers, health advocates and the public with the facts about the tobacco companies and their executives: what they knew, when they knew it, and how they continue to mislead the public and manipulate public policy. We hope that, armed with the evidence, we’ll all have a better chance at undoing the havoc these companies have created.
D. Douglas Blanke
Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
This is a compilation of select quotes from 1,259 pages of Findings in a legal document over 1,700 pages long. Our goal in preparing this compilation has been to extract highlights of the Court's Findings that help tell the story in a direct and easily understandable way.