Via America’s Lawyer: The Bayer Corporation is trying to limit the types of evidence that can be used against them in court as their recent purchase of Monsanto has put them on the hook for Roundup trials and verdicts. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss more. Then, Mike Papantonio has a discussion with Lee Camp on why lobbyists from the alcohol industry are working overtime as they consider whether the booming legalized marijuana business represents a competition or opportunity.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The Bayer Corporation is trying to limit the types of evidence that can be used against them in court as their recent purchase of Monsanto has put them on the hook for Roundup trials and verdicts. Here with Farron Cousins. Farron, this couldn’t happen to a better company could it? To put Bayer on the hook for all the misconduct of Monsanto. It’s not, not like Bayer doesn’t have problems themselves. Look, you know, I got to tell you what bothers me about this, this case and then what’s happening in California is you have this judge. You, the first thing you have to look at in how a case is doing is first of all, look at the judge. Now, this is a judge, you’ve done some background on him. You know, you’d think, okay, he’s in a, he’s a, he’s an Obama appointment. He certainly has to be there for the little guy. He’s not. You know, he’s a corporate, he comes through the corporate structure of Covington & Burling and these rulings that he’s making affects thousands of cases to where we can, these people can actually get, they can get some justice against Monsanto and Bayer. What is your take on this?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, this judge, Vince Chhabria, completely predictable. Like you said, Covington & Burling, worked for corporations as their lawyer representing them. So what he’s done here is a couple of weeks ago he said, okay, Bayer, Monsanto, whatever you want to call yourselves in court, you don’t want the plaintiffs to be able to bring in evidence showing that you tried to mislead the public. What you want me to do is basically break the trial into two separate phases. Phase one did you cause the cancer? Phase two, did you cover it up? See Bayer and Monsanto only wanted to do phase one. So Chhabria finally did come out this past Monday and said, all right, I’m going to allow some of the evidence of your cover up in public deception, which it means nothing.

Mike Papantonio:             It means absolutely… Look, I have, full disclosure, I’m handling Roundup cases in, in St Louis. I chose not to go to California to be in front of this judge because I was afraid of these very kinds of rulings. You see a federal judge can give you little bits and pieces to make it sound like they’re being overly fair to one side or the other, but the truth is, first of all, a bifurcated trial, let me, you have to understand, you’re first trying the issue of is this person have a disease relating to this product, right? You’re you’re trying that first, and then you’re going back and looking at, well, how bad was the company’s conduct? Are there documents there that shed light on the probability that this person has this illness? Look, I’ve taken depositions in this case, the documents are over whelming. The company absolutely has known for decades that their product, that Roundup causes cancer. No question about it.

The World Health Organization comes out and says, yes, it causes cancer, and then the company Monsanto and now Bayer go about trying to pay off scientists to get them to write literature that’s contrary to that to that issue. So isn’t that probative in of itself? The very fact that the company is going out trying to hire what we call biostitutes, these are these scientists that will say anything for the right amount of money. From an evidentiary standpoint, it’s probative on its face that whatever the mental process is of Monsanto, they have to go out and hire people to say something contrary that nobody else will say and then pay them big money. That’s probative of the, of the existence of the, of their knowledge, that yes, this cancer, this person has probably is related to our product.

I mean, what am I missing here? What is this judge missing? And the real thing that drives me nuts is every time you go, well, it was a democratic appointment, they must be great. No, it doesn’t work like that because the democratic appointments are just as bad as the Republican appointments. Most of the time the democratic establishment appointments are usually judges like this who’ve come up through the system. You know, they’ve come up through the system, they’ve worked for corporations, they’ve been paid by corporations, they have little or no, nothing in common with the average American that’s been injured by a product like this.

Farron Cousins:                  Right, and part of the problem here too is that this judge Chhabria has 680 Monsanto cases in front of him. The, the panel there, the mdl panel said your going to be our judge for this Monsanto. So he’s got 680 ahead of him. And if he does things like this, limits evidence or says only some of it, let me approve what comes out. That’s going to be horrifying for these plaintiffs.

Mike Papantonio:             We already saw one ruling from this judge where it was some of these documents were made public. Okay. And they are terrible documents. These are documents you look at and you say, these people should be in prison. We shouldn’t be in civil court. You know, the Department of Justice should have done something about this. So they, those documents are leaked. And the lawyer that said, as a public service, I need to let the public know how dangerous that is. That person, that lawyer was sanctioned by this judge for simply telling the truth. You know how bad, how bad is this stuff? Well, it’s pretty bad when you read the documents.

Mike Papantonio:             Getting cannabis off schedule 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act is the biggest goal of the marijuana industry and a new bill in the House of Representatives would accomplish that goal by requiring cannabis to be regulated like alcohol instead of like heroin, which is another drug on schedule 1. And now alcohol lobbyists are getting involved as they consider whether the booming marijuana business represents competition or a business opportunity or maybe a hybrid of the two. Joining me to talk about that now is Lee Camp, host of Redacted Tonight, here to talk about this story. Lee, I know you’ve done plenty of, plenty of pieces on this topic. This is kind of a new twist because in the past, really what we’ve seen is the alcohol industry, very afraid of the expanding market of, of marijuana. They understand it is a replacement of sorts, but now they realize they have a distribution system in place. They have the people, they’ve got the way to distribute all this. Tell me what, the alcohol industry lobbyists have stressed that they are neutral on the issue of legalizing marijuana. I don’t buy that. How about you?

Lee Camp:                              Well, first of all, I hope you didn’t just have me on for this topic because I have long hair, but I, I do think that they’re, they see the writing on the wall. I think for a long time they thought it was going to take away from alcohol sales and now they’re starting to see that yeah, they have the distribution set up. They have the money. They could really get in on this and make a lot of money from this. Of course the idea that we should be talking about weather or they actually should be talking about whether, you know, legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing it would hurt their alcohol sales when it has been the, the drug war has been the cause of so much harm to so many people around this nation. You know, it shouldn’t really matter whether it hurts alcohol sales, but yeah, I think they see a big, a big dollar sign here and they’re excited to get in on it. I mean, even in terms of CBD oil, even Coca Cola has announced they’re going to, they’re looking into a soda with CBD oil and you know, I’m excited for that because that means soon there’ll be a, a soda that both can cause and cure cancer at the same time.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Well there’s so many of the CBD is, is just a, it’s an emerging area where they’re finding new uses for it virtually every day. And oddly enough in this business, I don’t know if you’ve been following this, but the CBD business has been just as successful from a standpoint of sellability of the product, expansion of the product, as regular marijuana has been. And I really think that that’s where the, that’s where one of the bigger fights going to take place. Look, many politicians now support cannabis legalization that will end the war on drugs, according to the talking points. How likely do you think it is that legislation would remove cannabis from the controlled substance act? I mean, what do you really think the possibilities are?

Lee Camp:                              Well, I think we’re going to see cannabis come off controlled substances pretty soon. I think that, you know, Americans in general aren’t falling for the, the, the propaganda anymore. That, oh my God, it’s going to rot your brains. And you know, they’re also seeing the health benefits of both marijuana and CBD oil. But will it be the end of the war on drugs? I’m highly doubtful of that. I mean this war on drugs from the beginning was created by the Nixon administration to undermine and up end black communities and activist communities and, and former Nixon aide Ehrlichman, John Ehrlichman has, has said that outright that they knew that would be the cause of this. And, and this is too useful to kind of the ruling elite to have a drug war, a system that puts everybody in, you know, it puts everybody in the poor lower class in prison or someone in their family, someone in their community and it upends their lives.

It makes it so they cannot, they can’t vote for one thing, a lot of them depending on the state. And it’s very useful to them to be able to lock people up to like this. But it is, our drug war is a crime against humanity because of the number of prisoners for nonviolent drug offenses that are locked up. Right now, we have the most prisoners per capita, the most prisoners in the world. Honestly I, I’m begging Venezuela to send some humanitarian aid to us because this is a, a crime against humanity.

Mike Papantonio:             You’d be glad to know that our new attorney general Barr actually wrote a paper one time on how we need to lock up more people. That we’re letting too many people go. He was one of the people that actually increased this jail time for, for minor drug users. Lee, it’s not all good news for the marijuana industry as there’s also been an increase recently in the scary weed narrative that we’re seeing. Talk about that, you know, the whole, the whole idea of scary weed leads to the next, leads to the next, leads to the next. What’s your take?

Lee Camp:                              Yeah. These, these articles are popping up again. You know, I thought we were past those times, but even Mother Jones known for being a kind of liberal outlet, even they had an article recently that was about how it didn’t, you know, studies show it destroys your brain or whatever. And, and my guess is, you know, as we said earlier, I think the alcohol industry sees that they can make money from this, but I think Big Pharma is probably the ones though, those lobbyists are probably the ones that still very much fear marijuana and CBD because it, it, the, those studies have shown that people will get off more dangerous, more expensive drugs if they find that a cannabis can solve their problems, whether that’s pain or whatnot. And so I think that the, the Big Pharma has a lot riding on probably keeping a lot of cannabis use illegal. And I think that’s probably where these, you know, it’s going to destroy your kids and destroy your life and it causes jazz music and, and sex. I think that’s where these articles are coming from.

Mike Papantonio:             We’re seeing more and more that. Lee camp, honestly, one of the most insightful and funny political commentators on the air without question. Thank you for joining me Lee. Okay.

Lee Camp:                              Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.