FOR THE PAST YEAR, what may well be the greatest trial ever on corporate wrongdoing has quietly unfolded in a Washington, D.C. federal district courtroom.
There Judge Gladys Kessler has presided over the U.S. Department of Justice's civil RICO case against the tobacco industry. RICO is the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, and has both civil and criminal components.
The Department of Justice's filings constitute the clearest and most compelling account of the conspiracy by Big Tobacco to deceive people in the United States about the health effects of cigarette smoking.
And although the Department of Justice's proposals for remedies have been undermined both by a misguided ruling from the D.C. Circuit appellate court (one which may yet be overturned by the …