Oct. 7, 2004 – The Justice Department suffered a slight setback in its $280 billion racketeering case against cigarette companies Monday when the judge indicated she was considering setting limits on the number of documents the government could submit.
US District Judge Gladys Kessler said the case could become "bloated" with documents from previous tobacco lawsuits. Justice Department attorneys say the huge amount of evidence is necessary to prove their claims that leading tobacco companies conspired to promote smoking by lying about its dangers.
Kessler told attorneys, "I could let everything under the sun into the record. I'm not going to do that."
Justice Department attorney Stephen justified the amount of documents. "It's 50 years," he told Kessler. "It's a pervasive fraud which we allege impacted every aspect of the defendants' businesses."
The trial is expected to last several months.