WASHINGTON (AP) — Never underestimate the staying power of big tobacco.
In 2006, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the nation’s largest cigarette makers to publicly admit that they had lied for decades about the dangers of smoking.
The basis for the punishment: Testimony from 162 witnesses, a nine-month bench trial and thousands of findings by the judge that defendants engaged in what the largest public health organizations in the country have called a massive campaign of fraud.
Bloodied but unbeaten, the tobacco companies have plunged into another courtroom battle in an effort to stave off the humiliation of having to underwrite an ad campaign in which they brand themselves as liars. Oral arguments are scheduled for Monday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.