Via America’s Lawyer: The latest FinCEN document leak exposes how U.S. banks have laundered huge sums of money for terrorist organizations and other sanctioned entities. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins to discuss more. Then, Johnson & Johnson reserves almost 4 billion dollars to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits over its cancer-causing baby powder. Attorney Stephen Luongo joins Mike Papantonio to update us on litigation filed by customers who were put at risk of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos-laden products.

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

Mike Papantonio:             A new report has revealed that US banks have been laundering billions of dollars for hostile foreign governments, terrorist groups across the country. As you know, I’m handling one of the biggest cases in the country. We’ve brought Iran into the case. We brought international banks into the case where we had people like HSBC, some of the biggest banks on the globe that were laundering money for terrorists. And I was asked to get involved and build out that case. This, this, this is a whole new feature though, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             This, this is, this is bigger than anything I’ve, I’ve seen.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. This should, should certainly hopefully help the case as well.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, it will.

Farron Cousins:                  Because these, they’re called the FinCEN files and what this is, you have a lot of these banks here in the US HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays from England, Deutsche bank and banks from all over the world, really, that basically knowingly help terrorist organizations, drug cartels, hostile foreign governments that aren’t allowed to move money. Allowed them all to move money and the other part of it is it’s not just the banks knowingly doing this because there’s plenty of evidence in these papers, 2,500, I think there are.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, they know.

Farron Cousins:                  They know they’re doing it. But the governments have been sitting on this information because the banks do have to turn in their paper and say, hey, look, we think there’s some fraud here.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. But let me tell you what happens from what we, what we’ve already seen from the litigation that we’ve brought. They turn in the papers and what that does is give some plausible protection.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             In other words, hey, we told you government, but what you see is they continued exactly the same course after they turned in the papers. The problem is that the department of justice does not have enough courage to do what they need to do. They don’t need to go after all of them. HSBC, remember the story we did on HSBC, they signed a six or seven page document. They said, yes, we’re laundering money. Yes, we know it’s going to terrorists. Yes, we know that the money is being used to kill American, American contractors and contractors actually from all over the world. Yes, we know all that. Yes, we have the records that show all that. And you know what, you know what the, the justice department Eric Holder did, Eric Holder made them pay $1.6 billion, $1.6 billion. Slapped them on the hand, nobody was even indicted.

Farron Cousins:                  And they made far more than that. So they technically profited off of this. Tens of billions.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh they made, projection was. No that the projection was, they made an excess of $30 billion and the justice department fines them $1.6 billion. This, where does this go, Farron?

Farron Cousins:                  Hopefully. Well, unfortunately let me tell you where it goes. It goes nowhere right now because the public doesn’t seem to care. They don’t seem to understand that their bank, because a lot of people have regular accounts at these banks, your bank, you have your mortgage through them. You have a checking account with them. They are helping these criminals, you know, deadly criminals.

Mike Papantonio:             Traffickers, human traffickers, drug cartels, terrorists, oligarchs from Russia that are trying to hide money and trying to move it into the Western economy. Because right now they’re, they’re, they’re, you know, they’re being, they’re suspended and being able to do that.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and the reason the public isn’t known about this story is because you tune to MSNBC or Fox or CNN right now, you’re going to see commercials for big banks. You open up any newspaper in this country, there’s going to be advertisements for banks. These banks are huge spenders in corporate media. They’re going to do what they can to downplay this. The, the blame will be shifted probably to the government, rather than the banks. The banks will say, as you said, look, we pointed it out. We don’t know why the government didn’t do it.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s all we, all we had to do. Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But this spanned the papers that, that they got a hold of, not all the papers, but just the ones that got ahold of four administrations, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump.

Mike Papantonio:             It was going on.

Farron Cousins:                  Happened under all of them.

Mike Papantonio:             During all of them. Yeah, yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Every one of them.

Mike Papantonio:             Johnson and Johnson has reserved almost $4 billion to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits over cancer causing baby powder. Attorney Steve Luongo joins me to talk about this. Steve, your reaction is the same as mine, $4 billion is not enough. People are dropping like flies from ovarian cancer that this company knew about. They’ve been punished so many times in lawsuits. It’s almost like they’re running into the wall, bashing their head up against the wall, thinking something’s going to change. Nothing’s going to change. These facts don’t change. This is a company that screwed up major and they know it.

Stephen Luongo:               Exactly. And talking about the facts, they’ve known since the seventies, internal documents have shown that the presence of asbestos was in their talcum powder. They didn’t warn the FDA. They didn’t warn their consumers. And here we are, several decades later, women are developing mesothelioma, but primarily that ovarian cancer, which these lawsuits are coming down on and coming down on Johnson and Johnson hard with major verdicts.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. The significance of mesothelioma is that asbestos is the cause of, of, of mesothelioma. It’s a, what they call a scar based cancer. I’ve tried a lot of these cases. This is the same analysis here. This is a scar based injury that is effecting, effecting women, the ovaries of women. It’s, it’s causing scarring in there and resulting in cancer. Now, they’ve known they had asbestos in their talc for a long time, true?

Stephen Luongo:               Absolutely. Yes, sir. So they’ve known, like I said, the internal documents have shown since the seventies that the, the specialists was present in their documents or in their products rather. As well as studies that have been going on since the seventies, I think the first study came out in 1971 that showed a possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. That study was well known, well published. Documents throughout the eighties and nineties, as well as surveys and studies throughout that time period, showed that they were well aware of the risk of ovarian cancer, as well as the presence of asbestos.

Mike Papantonio:             You did a checklist for me saying the number of times, hit for $100 million, okay. Hit for $30 million. Hit for $4.6 billion. Hit for $25 million. Hit for $37 million. Hit for $417 million. Hit for $110 million. The company, here’s what’s happening, I promise you. The CEO does not want to give it up because it’s going to happen on his or her watch. This is how it happened. You don’t want to make it, you don’t want to pay out the big money on your watch. You want to wait till the next CEO comes along and pay it off. There’s a real ugly story to this side, you know what it is? It is that Wall Street is controlling lawyers who take money from Wall Street. They get loans from organizations like Fortress and you know, the big, the big hedge funds. They’re taking money from those people to where they can’t settle the cases. So it’s both sides, it’s Johnson and Johnson and some of these lawyers who are, who are moneyed up from Wall Street, which should never happen with a plaintiff’s lawyer. What’s your take on that?

Stephen Luongo:               Well, the dam is going to break. We know that last year Johnson and Johnson made some significant moves. We talked about the a hundred million that they set aside, the deal with women and a thousand lawsuits approximately, where asbestos was found there. They’ve also set aside through their financial documents, the four billion that you talked about earlier, and they removed the baby powder with talc entirely from the market back in May of 2022.

Mike Papantonio:             But what happens when Wall Street tells a claimant’s lawyer, okay, you’ve got a thousand cases, you have to hold out for more money, even though it’s a good settlement. That means Wall Street, here’s what I’d recommend. People need to ask their lawyer. Are you taking money from Wall Street? And you as a plant, a claimant’s lawyer, are you taking money from Wall Street? Because if you are it’s Wall Street, making the decisions about whether you should settle the cases or not. These cases should be settled. The trials, one trial after another, they’ve been hammered. The CEO needs to give it up right now and say, look, I’m the guy that maybe has to pay out all the money, but I’ll live with it. Got about 30 seconds. What’s your take?

Stephen Luongo:               Well right now with the litigation and there is the MDL up in New Jersey that has approximately 25,000 cases.

Mike Papantonio:             We are full disclosure, we’re helping to run that MDL.

Stephen Luongo:               We are, we are, and we’re not taking Wall Street money and we’re fighting for them. We’re trying to get the settlements. Obviously we’re looking at that 4.6 million or billion dollar settlement and verdict that came in St. Louis. The final appeal of that hasn’t been determined yet, but that’s definitely a governing factor. Right now, the judge in the MDL, MDL has issued us as well as the opposing side, to go and select the bellwether cases. I think that’s really going to start getting some traction with this case.

Mike Papantonio:             That means, choose the case that you want to go to trial with. When that happens, things start moving.

Stephen Luongo:               Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio:             This company can’t take many more hits. The CEO in charge right now needs to make a very important decision. Do I want this company to stay alive or do I want to be the CEO who puts an end to Johnson and Johnson? Because I’m worried about my exit package. That’s what’s, that’s what’s at stake here. Thank you for joining me, Steve.

Stephen Luongo:               Thank you, sir.

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.