Appeals Court Considers Overturning Tobacco Case

October 15, 2008

Three federal appeals judges are considering whether to overturn a landmark ruling that say cigarette-makers violated racketeering laws by deceiving the public for decades about the risks of smoking.

During arguments, the judges expressed concern that a decision two years ago by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler might not be allowed under a law designed to combat mobsters and other organized criminals.

Tobacco companies argued that they might have sent mixed messages in the past about the safety of cigarettes, but there’s no proof they conspired to commit fraud.

Government lawyers pointed out that tobacco executives continued to say cigarettes weren’t addictive even as their researchers suggested otherwise.

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