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Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark on Tuesday in exchange for not only the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer for its role in creating the nation’s opioid crisis.

The company, which declared bankruptcy last year, also will be dissolved and its assets used to establish a new "public benefit company,” federal authorities said.

US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo approved the deal after Purdue Pharma Board Chairman Steve Miller pleaded guilty during a teleconference to three criminal charges on behalf of the company.

“Purdue admitted that it marketed and sold its dangerous opioid products to healthcare providers, even though it had reason to believe those providers were diverting them to abusers,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.

“The company lied to the Drug Enforcement Administration about steps it had taken to prevent such diversion, fraudulently increasing the amount of its products it was permitted to sell. Purdue also paid kickbacks to providers to encourage them to prescribe even more of its products.”

Indeed, Miller, on behalf of Purdue, admitted that the company:

  • impeded the DEA’s efforts to fight the epidemic, which the government said has killed more than 470,000 Americans who used either prescription and or illegal opiods over the past two decades, as well as countless innocent victims;
  • lied to the agency when it said it had developed a method to keep prescription drugs from being diverted to the black market when it hadn’t;
  • paid doctors through speakers program fees to get them to write more painkiller prescriptions;
  • paid an electronic medical records company to send patient information to physicians that encouraged them to prescribe opioids.

The conspiracy also involved “aiding and abetting violations” of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by facilitating the dispensing of its opioid products, including OxyContin, “without a legitimate medical purpose” – thus, without lawful prescriptions, the Justice Department said.

The guilty pleas “send a strong message to the pharmaceutical industry that illegal behavior will have serious consequences,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen noted.

The pleas were entered as part of a criminal and civil settlement last month between the Justice Department and the Stamford, CT-based company, owned by the Sackler family.

The counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (two counts).

The penalties: a $3.544 billion criminal fine and $2 billion more in forfeited proceeds, the Justice Department said.

“Purdue has also agreed to a civil settlement that provides the United States with an allowed, unsubordinated, general unsecured bankruptcy claim for recovery of $2.8 billion to resolve its civil liability under the False Claims Act,” the department said.

“Separately, the Sackler family will pay $225 million in damages to resolve its civil False Claims Act liability.”

That may be all that’s paid from the forfeiture decision.

The Justice Department said it’s “willing to credit up to $1.775 billion against the agreed $2 billion forfeiture amount” if the company can complete a federal bankruptcy settlement with state and local governments who are among those suing the company.

“Having our plea accepted in federal court, and taking responsibility for past misconduct, is an essential step to preserve billions of dollars of value” for that settlement, the company said in a statement.

“We continue to work tirelessly to build additional support for a proposed bankruptcy settlement, which would direct the overwhelming majority of the settlement funds to state, local and tribal governments for the purpose of abating the opioid crisis,” the statement says.

The new public company, using the assets seized by the government, will be controlled by a trust or similar entity designed for the benefit of the American public, authorities said.

Attorneys general from nearly half the states and some activists opposed the deal, saying that the Sacklers will remain wealthy and free from punishment by surrendering control of the company.

They noted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 70,000 American deaths in 2018 alone, an estimated 70% of which it said was by prescription or illicit opioids like OxyContin.

Federal authorities countered that the Sackler family, as well as other current and former employees and owners of the company, still face possible criminal charges and additional financial penalties.

Arleo didn’t set a sentencing date.

News Source: dailyvoice.com

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Twitter’s Theory on Why Trump’s Claiming the FBI Planted Evidence at Mar-a-Lago: ‘He’s Guilty As Sin’

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Former President Donald Trump dominated the news on Wednesday as he both claimed the FBI planted evidence in his Florida mansion during their Monday raid and pleaded the Fifth Amendment multiple times while being deposed by the New York Attorney General’s office.

Trump put out a statement on his truth social Wednesday morning making the baseless allegation:

The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, “planting.” Why did they STRONGLY insist on having nobody watching them, everybody out? Obama and Clinton were never “raided,” despite big disputes!

The former president also put out a statement about his deposition with Attorney General Letitia James’s (D-NY) office regarding her ongoing investigation into Trump’s family and business.

“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’” Trump began, adding “[w]hen your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”

The two statements led to a bevy of responses on Twitter regarding Trump’s motives.

There’s a reason why Donald Trump won’t tell US what the FBI found during its legal search of Mar-a-Lago. He’s Guilty as Sin.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 10, 2022

In 2013, when we filed the Trump University case, Trump accused us of falsifying victim testimony.

Today, Trump is accusing the FBI of planting evidence.

Both accusations were 100% false — the desperate ravings of a guilty man.

— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 10, 2022

“There’s a reason why Donald Trump won’t tell US what the FBI found during its legal search of Mar-a-Lago. He’s Guilty as Sin,” wrote Hollywood director Rob Reiner.

Tristan Snell, a lawyer and pundit on cable news, added:

In 2013, when we filed the Trump University case, Trump accused us of falsifying victim testimony.

Today, Trump is accusing the FBI of planting evidence.

Both accusations were 100% false — the desperate ravings of a guilty man.

“Nothing could confirm Trump’s guilt more than this statement this morning suggesting the FBI planted evidence. He got caught and he knows it. This is what guilty people say. Expect this to be the new GOP talking point,” wrote Twitter personality Ron Filipkowski.

Nothing could confirm Trump’s guilt more than this statement this morning suggesting the FBI planted evidence. He got caught and he knows it. This is what guilty people say. Expect this to be the new GOP talking point. pic.twitter.com/vLhs4FacNQ

— Ron Filipkowski ???????? (@RonFilipkowski) August 10, 2022

1000000% this. ????. Whatever the Feds pulled from that search he KNOWS he’s cooked. Totally cooked. He’s laying the groundwork for his NEXT lie: *All of this damning evidence—the feds planted it on me.* https://t.co/3BLbX18bP2

— ???????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????? (@maxapotter) August 10, 2022

Author Maximillian Potter added, “Whatever the Feds pulled from that search he KNOWS he’s cooked. Totally cooked. He’s laying the groundwork for his NEXT lie: *All of this damning evidence—the feds planted it on me.*”

“Nothing confirms guilt more than claiming authorities planted evidence, this is what guilty people say”

Haha now try that line on racial crime statistics https://t.co/YhS3MAKHIy

— George Alexopoulos (@GPrime85) August 10, 2022

THIS.

Has the Republican Party stopped to think for one moment that Trump might be very obviously guilty, the FBI has the hard evidence, and this is all going to go very poorly for them? https://t.co/ItcBrnpiYz

— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) August 10, 2022

On pleading the Fifth, the replies were similar:

By his own logic, Trump is guilty. pic.twitter.com/la6DwlibYU

— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) August 10, 2022

Trump in 2016: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
Today Trump invoked the 5th amendment to questions from NY Attorney General at his deposition.
Trump was right: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Answer: Trump is GUILTY!

— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) August 10, 2022

Legal Twitter tells me the trier of fact may draw an adverse inference from a witness in a civil case invoking the 5th.

So I’ll draw an adverse inference from Trump taking the 5th.

My adverse inference is that DONALD TRUMP IS GUILTY OF MORE CRIMES THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A STICK AT.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 10, 2022

I recognize it’s the important right of any American to take the Fifth, but it’s worth noting how Hillary Clinton say through 11 hours of public Benghazi testimony and sat with the FBI for 3.5 hours amid her emails—and when Trump faces questions, he takes the Fifth.

— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) August 10, 2022

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