In the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, at least one of the judges on the 3-judge panel seemed adamantly hostile to the government’s argument that in order to “prevent and restrain” future wrongdoing of the tobacco industry, the DOJ is entitled to “disgorgement.”
Judge Sentelle interrupted government lawyer Michael R. Dreeben within about 7 words, and by the end of the hearing said, in his thick southern accent, that a lot of testimony was heard in the passing of RICO in 1964 about racketeers and mafioso, but, “I’ve seen the government using it in everything except racketeers and mafioso.”
Judge Tatel seemed sympathetic to the government’s case, and Judge Williams seemed slightly hostile to it.
There was talk of other remedies available to the government, including injunctive relief–an aspect of the case which will continue, but has not been given great attention until now. It may be the only remedy left when the Appeals Court’s judgement comes in, possibly in 2 weeks, or by the end of the year.
How a negative ruling will affect the government’s committment to the case is unknown.