DOJ Official Must Testify on Conduct in Tobacco Lawsuit, Judge Rules
Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum will be required to testify in a lawsuit that questions the conduct of the Department of Justice in a federal case against the tobacco industry, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, the AP/Washington Post reports.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the suit in October 2005 after DOJ disregarded testimony from one of its own witnesses and reduced the amount the Bush administration sought from the industry from $130 billion to $10 billion. The CREW suit requests records of all contacts between DOJ officials and the White House pertaining to the tobacco trial and records of all contacts between McCallum and his former Atlanta law firm, which has represented the tobacco industry. CREW alleges DOJ has not provided any documents after Freedom of Information Act requests.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that CREW is allowed to investigate the department's handling of the document requests by questioning McCallum. Sullivan said statistical information that DOJ provides annually to Congress contradicts the government's argument that there is nothing atypical about the amount of time it has taken to respond to CREW's lawsuit (AP/Washington Post, 6/2).