The night before the government secured a guilty plea from the manufacturer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, a senior Justice Department official called the U.S. attorney handling the case and, at the behest of an executive for the drugmaker, urged him to slow down, the prosecutor told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
John L. Brownlee, the U.S. attorney in Roanoke, testified that he was at home the evening of Oct. 24 when he received the call on his cellphone from Michael J. Elston, then chief of staff to the deputy attorney general and one of the Justice aides involved in the removal of nine U.S. attorneys last year.
Brownlee settled the case anyway. Eight days later, his name appeared on a list compiled by Elston of prosecutors that officials had suggested be fired.
"...at the behest of an executive for the drugmaker...slow down"? These people are crooks to the core. [Damn, TPM and Atrios used the exact words. I wouldn't have if I'd seen thier posts - but it's a natural reaction to this story.] Don't forget what that case was about:
The OxyContin case arose from a four-year investigation into the marketing of a powerful drug that was, according to federal drug officials, a direct or partial cause of 146 deaths in 2000 and 2001 and possibly in 318 others during that period.