Via America’s Lawyer: Anti-Cuba protestors swarmed the streets in Florida, despite the state’s recent passage of the country’s most stringent anti-protest bill. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to explain how dozens of states are considering enacting similar laws. Also, Juul paid over $50,000 to sponsor pro-vaping articles in a special edition of the American Journal of Health Behavior. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss more.

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

Mike Papantonio:             Right wing demonstrators in Florida have been given a pass after breaking the state’s new anti protest laws during the demonstrations that have been against Cuban government. Last week in Florida, it was a big mess in Florida. Florida officials are now facing criticism for applying a double standard to protesters across the state. Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about this story. Brigida, first of all, as we, as we watch this story develop, I’m wondering, did police in Miami file charges against anti Cuban protesters last week? Were they actually charges filed?

Brigida Santos:                   No, last week, Florida police declined to charge hundreds of protesters who shut down the Palmetto expressway for eight hours in Miami-Dade county in violation of Florida’s new anti protest bill. Governor Ron DeSantis enacted Florida’s harsh new law in April in response to last year’s black lives matter protests. The law makes it a felony for protestors to block highways and it gives full immunity to people who drive through protestors. But in response to the anti Cuban government protests last week DeSantis tweeted that Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets and the rights of non-violent Cuban-American protesters. No arrests were made despite law violations. Critics immediately pointed out the difference in how Florida treats right-wing protesters versus other protestors who stand up against oppression.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I’m looking at this and I, I’m telling you it’s, it’s kind of a 50 50 shot, whether this stands or not, because police powers, as we’ve talked about on this show are so strong, police powers are incredibly strong. You can talk about where protests are going to be. You can talk about how long they’re going to, how long they should take place. There’s all types of limitations you can put on this. So I’m not sure that this is a given that the Supreme Court is going to say, just strike this down. How are civil rights, how are civil rights groups responding to Florida’s anti-riot bill?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah, a coalition of civil rights groups, including the ACLU, NAACP and Community Justice Project have filed a motion in a federal court in Florida to block the state’s new anti protest law. In a statement, the coalition says the law risks criminalizing peaceful protests, shields those who injure or kill protesters from civil penalties, discourages people from protesting and infringes on first amendment rights. And back in May, that same group also sued DeSantis directly and other state officials over House bill one.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I’m not sure that these governors really care how this lands, whether the Supreme Court of their state takes it away, knocks it down. I think what it is, it’s a factor that they’re throwing red meat out to people who are kind of tired of protests. They went through an entire summer of it, entire, almost entire year of it. Maybe two years, if you look back. And I think this is kind of the conservative government, governors way of throwing out some red meat, knowing that it may not stick. How many other have passed similar laws that undermine the first amendment, as they put it?

Brigida Santos:                   Since 2017, over 35 states have passed anti protest laws that increased fees and jail time for those convicted of damaging infrastructure and assisting protesters even if they themselves don’t participate in any civil disobedience. The laws significantly restrain first amendment rights to freely assemble and of course, to free speech. The new laws have been heavily backed by police unions and corporations. Many of the legislators who sponsor new anti protest laws, also back new voter suppression laws. Corporate donors to these lawmakers include companies like AT&T, Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds to name a few.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, I, I’m not, you know, sometimes you look at, you look at legislation, you say, this is never going to live. If this one fails, it’s probably gonna be, it’s gonna fail on the way that it’s written. There’s some real illusory elements to it. There’s something, there’s some parts that if you were look at you really don’t understand what the law is and there’s some due process kind of arguments there. But you’re going to see some states where the state Supreme Court says, yeah, it’s okay. And we’ll see what SCOTUS does with it in the long run. Thank you for joining me. Okay.

Mike Papantonio:             Juul has been busted creating articles that say that vaping is totally safe and then paying a medical journal to run these articles that are a fraud. Joining me to help answer the question of why that happened is Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine. Wow, this is, this is the same program that we went through. As you know, you were with our law firm when we initiated the initial tobacco litigation all over the country, it started right here and we, we, you know, we reviewed all the documents, the game plan. It’s exactly the same game plan. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  It, it really is. And it gets frustrating when people don’t understand, not only that, that it’s the same game plan, but it’s really the same players. You know, Altria, which used to be Philip Morris, owns a good percentage of Juul. It is literally the same companies. So what they’ve done here, it’s the American Journal of Health Behavior, their May in June issue. They said, you know what, we’re going to run 11 research articles here. It’s going to be a special on vaping here in the United States. And they didn’t disclose to their own scientists, the people working there that, oh, by the way, all of these articles were actually produced by Juul and they’re paying us $50,000 or so to run this as if they were actual medically reviewed articles.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. There’s two steps to it. First of all, they find biostitutes that will say anything. Will write anything for the right amount of money to create an article that says, yeah, there’s no health problems with Juul. Make sure your kids smoke Juul, get them to smoke the candy flavor. That’ll really be great. And then you find a guy like Elbert Glover. You cannot talk about this story without talking about this cat Elbert Glover, who was the editor of this journal, the American Journal of Health Behavior and retired after the article came out. What is your take on this guy and what happened here?

Farron Cousins:                  It is absolutely disgusting. It shows this paper had absolutely no journalistic ethics whatsoever. And again, he only, you know, basically had to resign after the staffers and the scientists that they keep to actually peer review, because keep that in mind too. I’m sorry, that was a part I glossed over there. They had to have their own, you know, science folks, peer review the articles and he said, we’ve got to get this expedited. I need you to peer review this. Not in months, not going over the actual research, but you got like five days, you got a week, a business week to get this peer reviewed. Get it back to me. Maybe there’s some, you know, cash involved here. And, and some of the scientists became so concerned reading this, that they said, my God, Glover.

Mike Papantonio:             Who wrote it?

Farron Cousins:                  They said, this looks like it was written by Juul. And he was forced to say, oh, actually it was, that’s what they said. They said, there’s no way Juul didn’t write these.

Mike Papantonio:             You are going to love this, his quote, this is Glover’s quote, I really didn’t think it mattered to tell the people doing the review, that the people that are wanting results are the people who phonied up the, the story, who phonied up the data. Who made it sound like anything that they wanted to, to, to have on paper. And this guy has the audacity to call himself editor of the American Journal of Health Behavior and say, I did the right thing. He knows he didn’t do the right thing. He resigned straight really after that. But he was really only well, he was overwhelmed by the staff, as you say, that said, hey, we’re reading this. You’re talking about 2000 kids that have been hospitalized from this. You’re talking about a whole concept of, a whole constellation of diseases that are directly related. We know that they’re selling this so they can get a teenager hooked on traditional cigarettes.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And we know all that. We’re finding that out more and more each year. It’s died down over the last year or so with the pandemic, people more focused on that. But Juul was looking at all of these lung illnesses, as you pointed out, developing in teens, over 2000 different cases, all of it happening in teens that were vaping. You cannot claim this is safe. In fact, there’s some scientists out there now saying this is as dangerous as traditional tobacco.

Mike Papantonio:             And just as you might imagine, the FDA is still out there, scratching their heads saying, oh gee, we have to determine whether or not this product is a health benefit. They literally are considering, how do we determine whether this is a health benefit to young teenagers? I couldn’t make that up. It’s our dysfunctional FDA.

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.