Law enforcement officials have arrested a Virginia lawyer involved in litigation over the health risks of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer product, with prosecutors accusing him of trying to extort an unnamed company into a $200 million consulting fee with his legal firm.
Timothy Litzenburg, 37, was charged with interstate intentions to extort, the U.S. Department of Justice said on [Dec. 17]. Litzenburg represented a former school groundskeeper [in] a $289 million lawsuit [in 2018] against agribusiness giant Monsanto over Roundup, which has been linked to cancer (The settlement was later reduced to $78 million.)
In the Justice Department complaint, federal officials didn’t name Monsanto as the company Litzenburg allegedly tried to extort and instead described Litzenburg’s victims as “Company 1” and “Company 2.” Company 1 is a privately owned chemical manufacturer, and Company 2 is a publicly traded corporation that acquired Company 1 in 2018, the complaint states. Publicly traded Bayer acquired privately owned Monsanto in June 2018.
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