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Sharon Eubanks, the former Justice Department lawyer who led the government’s massive racketeering case against the tobacco industry, has jumped back into the public eye. Last month, Eubanks, who is writing a book about the case, began a public campaign to highlight what she says was a politicized decision by the Justice Department’s top brass to seek just $10 billion, rather than $130 billion, from Big Tobacco back in 2005. But Justice’s leadership, including former Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum and current Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler, hasn’t been Eubanks’ only target. She also criticizes the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency’s internal watchdog, which conducted a probe of the tobacco case and concluded that there was no improper political meddling. “It was a joke,” Eubanks says of the investigation. “To my mind, OPR was not serious about asking questions they didn’t want answers to.” Eubanks claims that during her entire eight-hour interview with investigators in November 2005, the OPR never asked her about Justice Department contacts with the White House in the case, even though she says she provided investigators with e-mails documenting what she saw as improper communications between McCallum and the White House on the public justification for the damages being sought. In response to Eubanks’ allegations, a Justice Department spokesman forwarded materials to Legal Times emphasizing that the OPR’s conclusions in the investigation had been endorsed by David Margolis, the senior career official at Justice, and statements of support for the change in the tobacco damages from a number of other career lawyers.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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