Mr. Webb and Mr. Bernick gave the Defense’s interim summation today, both saying that government has proven nothing in the way of fraud or RICO violations. They claimed many of the government’s witnesses have backfired on them.
Mr. Bernick’s presentation, while having some strong points, also contained some eyebrow-raisers.
Mr. Bernick claimed (paraphrasing), “By 1970, in the words of Dr. Brandt, it was the very rare person who thought that smoking wasn’t harmful. Is it a fraud to state a scientific opinion when no one believes it is real.?”
This tree-falling-in-the-forest-when-no-one’s-arournd-is-not-fraud argument even drew a response from Judge Kessler:
“You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Bernick. … that the [public] knew smoking was bad, but it’s ok for the industry to argue it’s a controversy?”
Since the government’s ETS case is the only way the DOJ could claim any kind of remedial relief, Webb called the ETS pillar a “liferaft.”