Attorney General

OxyContin Plea Deal Probed

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing today on plea agreements reached in a case against the company that makes the painkiller OxyContin.

Purdue Pharma and three of its executives agreed to pay $634.5 million earlier this month to settle charges they misled physicians about the addictive nature of the drug, according to the Washington Post.

The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors may have favored a more aggressive approach to the prosecution than their superiors at the Justice Department. The newspaper quotes lawyers briefed on the case who did not want to be identified.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has told the committee that U.S. Attorney John Brownlee did not pursue jail time in the case because he was not confident the executives knew about any crimes. Brownlee, whose name was at one time on a potential list of federal prosecutors to be fired, will testify today.

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