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A former Justice Department lawyer disputes a recent report clearing a top DOJ official of wrongdoing in the government’s case against the tobacco industry. “I disagree with the findings . . . and I was directly involved in the case from its inception,” says Sharon Eubanks, who led the tobacco-litigation team and who resigned in protest in December. Eubanks stepped down after clashing with senior DOJ officials over their decision to drastically slash the amount of damages sought from cigarette companies — to $10 billion from $130 billion. “Their finding that there was no political influence is flawed. I was there and I reach a different conclusion based on my direct involvement,” says Eubanks, who spent 22 years with the department and who would not discuss future career plans. After her departure, the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility launched an investigation into whether Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum’s decision to reduce the damages sought was politically motivated. In a June 1 memo, the OPR concluded McCallum’s actions were “based on good faith efforts to obtain remedies from the district court that would be sustainable on appeal” and stated that he did not exercise poor judgment. The decision clears the way for McCallum’s pending nomination as ambassador to Australia to move forward.
Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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