A federal judge on [September 18] sentenced Virginia attorney Timothy Litzenburg, 38, to two years in prison for attempting to extort $200 million from a company that makes a chemical used in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon in Charlottesville, Virginia, also sentenced Litzenburg’s law partner, Daniel Kincheloe, 41, to one year for his role in the scheme.
“These two attorneys flagrantly violated their ethical duties to their own clients as they sought to extort a company out of $200 million,” Brian Rabbitt, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement after the sentencing hearings. “Attorneys who cross the line and abuse their status as officers of the court will be held accountable for their actions.”
Litzenburg and Kincheloe were name partners at the Richmond-based law firm Kincheloe Litzenburg & Pendleton. Litzenburg was part of the trial team that won a landmark jury verdict against Monsanto, which was found liable for causing cancer in their client, groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, and ordered to pay $289 million in damages in August 2018.
Starting in October 2019, prosecutors charged, Litzenburg pressed the company’s outside counsel to pay him and his co-counsel $200 million or they would make damaging public statements about their product and potentially sue.