Sharon Eubanks, former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who prosecuted and won the racketeering case against Big Tobacco, said that Big Oil should be investigated for similar misleading actions.

Eubanks said that ExxonMobil and other large oil companies could be held liable for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Such liability will be held if the companies are found to have colluded in hiding knowledge about the reality of man-made climate change.

“I think a RICO action is plausible and should be considered,” said Eubanks. She added that the DOJ should consider launching an investigation into whether Big Oil nefariously hid information about climate change. Big Oil has the same motivations for lying about climate change as Big Tobacco had for lying about cancer and nicotine addiction.

“The cigarette companies actively denied the harm of cigarette smoking, and concealed the results of what their own research developed,” she said. “The motivation was money, and to avoid regulation.”

The fossil fuel industry should be investigated to determine whether they have maliciously hidden the effects of man-made climate change.

For more on this story, visit ThinkProgessExxon’s Climate Cover-Up Should Be Investigated By DOJ, Tobacco Prosecutor Says”

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced