American Scandal

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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

Big Tobacco | Killing the Marlboro Man | 4

Big Tobacco | Killing the Marlboro Man | 4

Tue, 28 Jul 2020 09:00

Jeffrey Wigand steps into the national spotlight. But with all the attention, he now faces a very real threat. The tobacco industry could launch its most vicious counterattack. Or, if Mike Moore has his way, Big Tobacco may waive the flag of surrender.

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It's early evening on January 26th, 1996. Jeffrey Wigan sits on the edge of an unmade bed and takes several deep breaths. Tonight Wigan is in a hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky, and he's trying to keep calm. But that's difficult because Wigan is well aware that in 15 minutes he's going to become famous. The CBS Evening News is about to run a clip from his soon to air 60 minutes interview. In it, Wigan made shocking accusations about the tobacco industry. Wigan takes some comfort, knowing that many will commend him for exposing Big Tobacco's lies. But over the last few years, he's also made many powerful enemies. His appearance on TV tonight will surely make that list grow bigger. Wigan's eyes dart anxiously around the cramped hotel room. The wave of nausea begins to build in his stomach. He feels tired. Tired of hiding here like an animal. This small hotel room has been Wigan's home for the past two weeks, ever since his wife Lucretia kicked him out of the house. She'd been frightened that morning two weeks ago because she opened their mailbox and found a single bullet. It was the last straw. That was it she told Wigan. Wigan rises and pulls back the window curtain of the hotel room. He stares across the street, gazing at the tall building that houses Brown and Williamson, his old employer. Wigan searches the 26 floors and notices that his old office is dark. So is the rest of the building, with one exception, the 18th floor legal department. The lights up there never go out. Wigan shakes his head. He can imagine all the B&W lawyers up there working around the clock to ruin his life. Wigan drops the curtain and turns on the TV. He flips to CBS, but then there's a knock on the door. Wigan walks over and pierce through the people, his bodyguard is standing by, and so is a man in a crisp white button down. It's Todd Thompson, one of his lawyers. Wigan pulls the door open. Thompson looks up and smiles. Hey, Jeff, I figured it'd be a good night to check up on you. Okay, if I come in, Wigan shrugged, then returns to the bed and sits down. Thompson looks at him with concern. Don't you say hello to me? I'm angry at the world. It's a pardon me if I'm not acting like your best friend. Jeff, you're a hero. Soon everyone in America is going to know it. Tell that to my soon to be ex wife. She doesn't think I'm a hero. She thinks I put the whole family in danger. And honestly, I can't even say I blame her. Yeah. You've made a lot of sacrifices, but you still should feel proud. Wigan stares out the window at the brown and Williams in tower. Yeah, but was it worth it? I mean, I've lost everything. My home, my family, I'm stuck here like an animal. The death threats aren't going to stop. And if they don't kill me, their lawyers are going to bankrupt me. Jeff, you are going to be all right. All you have to do, but just then Wigan holds up a hand in silence as Thompson. He turns up the volume as the CBS evening news begins, and heirs a clip from his upcoming 60 minute interview with Mike Wallace. Wigan nervously watches. Now we're in nicotine delivery business. And that's what cigarettes are for. Most certainly. It's a delivery device for nicotine. A delivery device for nicotine. Put it in your mouth, bite it up, and you're going to get your face. We get to fix it. As a clip ends, Wigan's heart thumps in his chest. It's an odd, out of body experience, seeing himself on national TV, but it's also profoundly gratifying. Because finally, the American public is hearing the truth. Wigan desperately hopes that cigarette makers will take a big hit from this interview. But deep down, he knows their defeat isn't guaranteed. And then enemy as corrupt and cunning as big tobacco, only one thing is certain. From this point on, Jeffrey Wigan's life will never be the same. Officially one hour until your favorite show premieres, time to get some snacks delivered through Instacart. Okay. Let's get some popcorn, seltzer, chocolate covered almonds, and wait. And they release the whole season. Better cart some ice cream for the two part finale. When your day should be ending, but a new season is starting, the world is your cart. Visit or download the app and get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for a limited time. Minimum order $10, additional terms apply. Hi, this is famous Formula One driver, Will Arnett. Join me in comedian, Mika Hakenen on our new Formula One radio program, The Fast and Loosed Post Show live on AMP every race Sunday. Download the AMP app today and follow AMP Presents F1 to join the show. I'm Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American Scan. In the mid 1990s, Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore finalized plans to sue Big Tobacco. The class action lawsuit involved numerous state attorneys general who sought compensation for the money that their state governments had spent treating smokers. It was a bold legal strategy and if successful, it could fundamentally change the tobacco industry and force it to pay billions of dollars. But of course, the tobacco industry resisted and as tensions grew between Moore's legal team and Big Tobacco soon the fight would boil over. This is episode 4, Killing the Mall Broman. It's March 1996 in Jackson, Mississippi. Mike Moore sited his computer drafting an email to the Attorney General of New York. His desk is overflowing with stacks of folders filled with court transcripts, news clippings, interviews, a massive volume that documents Big Tobacco's legal history. Moore takes another sip of coffee and rubs his eyes. He's the Attorney General of Mississippi, but right now his whole life revolves around this one class action lawsuit against Big Tobacco. He zigzagged across the country taking long flights and longer meetings and he's managed to get other states to come on board his lawsuit. But while the work has been exhausting, he knows he can't let up. Not now. Not when their case is finally gaining some serious momentum. Last month, Jeffrey Waiyan went on 60 minutes and shocked the world. Moore won't stop talking about the interview. The public believes Waiyan, they want Big Tobacco brought to justice. That's good news from Mike Moore and his lawsuit because now Big Tobacco is a weak position and already there are signs that it's going to fold. Moore is just about done with the email to the New York Attorney General when his phone rings. He picks up. On the other end of the line is a reporter from the New York Times. Right away the reporter congratulates Moore on his settlement with a ligate cigarette company. It's very big news and he'd like Moore to describe how it came about. Moore pauses. Jeff Waiyan's 60 minutes interview was the first watershed moment. The settlement with ligate may be the second and the most consequential. Moore knows he must choose his words carefully when speaking to a reporter. The negotiations with ligate were done in secret and much of it has remained confidential. Some Moore begins to explain that the CEO of ligate actually approached Moore with the idea of settling. He admits it was a bit of a shock because up until that point the tobacco companies had banded together as a unified front opposing the lawsuit. But ligate CEO realized that if Big Tobacco lost the suit his smaller and less profitable company wouldn't survive the financial blow. So for him it was better to admit defeat now, agree to an affordable settlement and let the other companies fend for themselves. Moore had enthusiastically agreed to the deal. The reporter asks an important follow up question. Now that one tobacco company has settled how does this impact the bigger lawsuit moving forward? Moore doesn't mean words. He says that the settlement with ligate was a massive breakthrough. Other tobacco CEOs may also decide that it's time to bail. Moore tells the reporter this could be the first big crack in the tobacco industry's 50 year old dam. The reporter thanks Moore for his time and the two hang up. Moore grins feeling satisfied. He's landed another punch. Still there's much more to be done. This team has to keep swinging until Big Tobacco gives up for good. Its late March 1996, Jeffrey Wigan sits at the head of a long conference table. The harsh fluorescent lights make him feel cold and numb. So much has happened in the past month and the bad news keeps getting worse. Wigan is getting divorced. He's facing financial ruin all thanks to Brown and Williamson and the lawsuit they filed against him. Wigan rubs the bags under his eyes. It's been months since he's had a solid night's rest. Efron Margulan, Wigan's lawyer, is seated to Wigan's left. To his right, sits Richard Scruggs, one of the key lawyers leading the class action lawsuit against Big Tobacco. Scruggs pushes a document toward Wigan. Wigan flips through it and sets it back down. He may be a trained biochemist, but even his brain hurts after glancing at this dense jumble of legal phrases. As lawyer Margulan leans forward and offers a sympathetic smile. And he explains that this is the lawsuit they planned to file today on Wigan's behalf. You will be served to John Scanlon. Brown and Williamson hired Scanlon to destroy Wigan's reputation, and so they're charging him with the intentional inflection of emotional harm. Wigan snorts miserably. And he tells Margulan that emotional harm doesn't even begin to describe the hell he's endured. He and his wife Lucretia now live separately, but last night she called him sounding frantic. She'd come home after picking their kids up from school and discovered that the house had been broken into. The living room and bedrooms were untouched, but Wigan's home office had been ransacked. Wigan immediately suspected that Brown and Williamson was behind the break in. So he asked Lucretia to check the top left drawer of his desk. That's where he stashed a copy of the scientific journal that he kept while he was working for the tobacco company. Lucretia paused and then told him that the drawer had been jimmyed open, and the journal was gone. Today, as he sits in this legal office with his eyes closed, Wigan feels the heavy weight of dread coursing through his body. People keep telling him he's a hero, but how many heroes wish they could just disappear. Wigan notices that Margulan is still talking. The attorney is asking, perhaps, why Wigan needs to take a break? Wigan opens his eyes. He can feel tears welling up and grips the edge of the table. He looks at Margulan, then it ritchers scruggs, and his voice cracks as he asks, when will this end? He's tired of looking at his shoulder, tired of feeling afraid. Scruggs lean forward. He tells Wigan not to give up hope. Scruggs and his team are working tirelessly to score a major win against Big Tobacco. They owe Wigan so much, and they won't let him down. But this new lawsuit against John Scanlon is important to Scruggs says. It's another way to hold Big Tobacco accountable. Wigan needs to keep going just a little longer, because they're almost there. Wigan nods. Wives away at tear this forming in his eye. Scruggs is right. Even though he's in pain and feeling scared, even though he's past the point of exhaustion, Wigan will see this fight to the end. It looks across the table as Scruggs and Margulan gives a small nod. Let's take them down. Six months later, it's a windy fall day in New York City. Jeff Bibles sits in a meeting room on the 17th floor at the Plaza Hotel. A dark table stretches across the suite. Its polished surface gleams beneath a chandelier. Bibles has always been fond of the Plaza Hotel. It's an elegant establishment with a long history. Something told him it would be the right venue for this meeting today. Bibles is the silver haired CEO of Philip Morris. It's the largest tobacco company in the U.S. and the maker of moral, bro cigarettes. Bibles has spent 30 years with the company, and he's a staunch supporter of the tobacco industry, an industry that's allowed him to gain immense wealth and political power. Unfortunately, Philip Morris and the other cigarette makers now face an unprecedented crisis. That's why Bibles helped organize today's meeting. It's time to join hands with his competition, and together, maybe they can get through this storm. As the other men take their seats around the long table, Bibles reaches for a stainless steel water pitcher and refills his glass. When he turns to the Martin Broughton, the CEO of British American Tobacco, the company that owns Brown and Williamson. Now Martin, you know about Jeffrey Wyand's interview. We all do, and so does all of America. You let this get out of control. You think we wanted this? You think we didn't try to stop him? Well, either you didn't try hard enough, or you didn't do it right. Because now the entire country believes him, and now we're the bad guys. We're the bogeymen. We're losing the PR battle. A battle that's only helping Michael Moore presses case against us. Rotten odds his eyes downcast. Yes. Moore is a real problem. The wide end interview was bad, but the deal more struck with Liggett. That's a disaster. I never imagined one of our own would stab us in the back. So I'm glad you brought this meeting together. We have to make sure nothing like that happens again. Indeed. I have a plan. A plan to make sure we don't face any more of these surprises. The other CEO has exchanged clanses. Bible calmly takes a sip from his water glass, and lets the anticipation build. I propose that we strike preemptively. I propose we negotiate with Michael Moore. That's crazy. No, it's not. Let's be honest, all of us. Can we do that? Because if we do, we'll admit that it's time to cut our losses. We're tired of getting sued all of us. So if we commit to a major settlement now, all these legal distractions, they're going to be gone once and for all. I for one, I'm ready to start thinking again about making cigarettes and making money, not appearing before Congress. Brought in though, waves his hand to smithing the idea. We're talking billions and billions of dollars, Jeff. It's out of the question. I don't think it is. A settlement will be expensive. No question. But we all know we can afford it. The alternative is endless lawsuits and a public witch hunt. And those we cannot afford. The other CEOs around the table nod their heads, Bible contains a smile. He knows he's winning them over. And let's be clear, we're not just going to give in to Mike Moore. We're going to hit the negotiating table. And we're going to force him to compromise, to be reasonable. Well I suppose I consider it, Jeff, but only if Moore's terms are reasonable, as you say. The CEOs murmur in agreement and give Bible their tentative approval of the plan. We'll make sure this agreement is favorable. And if not, we'll walk away, go to trial, beat him in court, like we've done every other time. Now if we are agreed on this, I'll contact my legal team and ask them to reach out to Moore. In the meantime, gentlemen, congratulations. I believe you just saved the tobacco industry. Bible rises and heads for the elevators. The other tobacco CEOs following closely behind. Bible breaks a sigh of relief. Before today, he would have hated the thought of even being in the same room with those men. And the competitors should be his sworn enemies. The Bible realizes that these men are also enemies of attorney general Mike Moore. And so for now, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue? Or you were seriously injured? Miles from help. What would you do? This is actually happening, asks our listeners this very question, while we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance. This is actually happening, brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. The new season of this is actually happening is available ad free only with Wondry Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. If you're into true crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together, and we'd love for you to join us. Generation Y is one of the longest running true crime podcasts out there, and we are still at it, unraveling a new case every week. We break down infamous cases like the Evil Genius Bank robbery, and lesser known cases like the case of Kimberly Rico. Did she actually kill her husband after they took part in a murder mystery game? We cover every angle, breaking down theories, diving deep into forensic evidence, and interviewing those close to the case, and with over 450 episodes, there's a little something for every true crime listener. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or every listen to podcasts, or you can listen ad free by joining Wondry Plus in the Wondry app. It's March 1997. It's more close to the blinds in his office as he gets ready to head home, but before he shuts off the light, he turns and takes one last look at the court board that's mounted on the wall. On it, our photos of the CEOs from the biggest tobacco companies in America. Beside each photo is a list of key facts about the man. It occurs to more that it looks like an evidence board from a police investigation. That's appropriate, because he feels when it comes to big tobacco, he knows he's dealing with criminals. More scans the names and faces on the court board, and thinks about the most recent request from the industry. The tobacco bosses want to settle with him, and end the class action lawsuit, but more has other plans. For now, he's ignoring the request. He's not returning their calls. Eventually, he will, but only wants his finalized the terms he'd like to settle on. Those terms will inflict permanent damage on an industry that's already ruined millions of lives. More shuts off the light and heads for the door. For just then, the phone rings. More size looks down at the caller ID. It displays a 202 area code, someone in Washington, DC. That means he can't go home quite yet. More picks up the phone. Right away, he recognizes the voice on the other end. It's Bruce Lindsay calling from the White House. Lindsay is an experienced DC insider, and he's one of President Bill Clinton's most trusted advisors. More likes the man, but with a call coming from the White House, he doubts that this is going to be any simple conversation. Nonetheless, Lindsay cuts straight to the chase. It's been six months since his cigarette company said they were willing to settle. It's time for more to start negotiations. No more stalling. More takes a moment. He considers how to respond to a message from the White House. He decides to be honest and says that he and the other attorneys general need a little more time. If there's going to be a settlement, it should be on their terms. Big tobacco might be ready to settle, but they don't have the right to dictate the terms of their surrender. Lindsay pauses. That says he understands where more is coming from. But more needs to understand something, too. Right now, negotiations are a political necessity. Lindsay would like to see the tobacco suit peacefully resolved before the fall. More grimaces, and falls into his seat. He knows what this means. Bill Clinton is up for reelections in eight months. To win the White House for a second term, he needs to walk a very fine line with several states whose economies depend on tobacco. The president may be on more side, but if Clinton wants to stay in office, he needs support from voters in tobacco states. And to get that support, Clinton needs those voters to believe that he treats the tobacco industry fairly. More says he understands, but for a case this big, a fall deadline may simply be impossible. Lindsay's voice grows firm and cold. He says that both he and the president are confident that more can get this done. More sulless. He supports Clinton's reelections, and if the president wants him to meet with big tobacco, then he'll meet with big tobacco. More tells Lindsay he'll have his office reach out to the tobacco lawyers. Lindsay then thanks more and hangs up. Alone in the quiet room, more once again glances over at the court board on the wall. He sees powerful and ruthless men, men who are accustomed to winning at all costs. Somehow he will have to sit down with them and engage in civil discussions. He may even have to make compromises. But there's one thing more certain of. He will not let big tobacco get away easy. It's April 3, 1997 in Crystal City, Virginia. Mike Moore sits at a large table in a spacious, warmly lit meeting room at the Sheridan. Normally he'd feel at ease sitting in a nice hotel. But this afternoon he's on edge. He glances at the others gathering around the table. They look just as wound up as he feels. This is a room filled with people sitting inches from their sworn enemies. Moore peers down the table and briefly locks eyes with two men. Jeff Bible of Philip Morris and Steve Goldstone of RJ Reynolds, the maker of camel cigarettes. These two men run the biggest tobacco companies in the country. More studies are inscrutable faces. After all he's learned about big tobacco, Moore expected something more menacing from these two. That they'd look like villains in a movie. Instead they seem like ordinary middle aged men with receding hairlines and nervous expressions. Still, Moore will watch them closely during these proceedings. Moore turns and takes stock of his own colleagues. He's grateful to have Richard Scruggs by his side, along with the attorney's general of several states. They appear eager to face off with big tobacco, and Moore is confident that they'll help him maintain the upper hand. Around the room everyone sits in tense silence. Moore Scruggs the tobacco man, the lawyers for tobacco. Moore looks up at the clock. It's 259 pm. Then the minute hand lunges forward. After introductions, Goldstone of RJ Reynolds speaks up. He asks Moore and his team to consider the large role that tobacco plays in the economy. He creates jobs, he says. And if Moore acknowledges that cigarettes are a legitimate product for adults, the companies are willing to reform. But Moore shakes his head. Don't waste our time. We want a reduction in youth smoking and we want you to tell the truth. tobacco attorney Meyer Copplau interjects. Okay Mike, then here's what we want. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. You give us that, and we're prepared to make a number of important changes. Oh, such as? I'm not sure we need to get into all of that right now. No, let's get into all that right now. I want to hear something concrete from you. I don't think that's too much to ask. All right fine. We are prepared to reassess our marketing strategies. We will discontinue our use of billboards. Will you end sports sponsorship? If we must, yes. More nods. Good, but let's talk about your other advertisements. I'm tired of the way you market to underage customers. But we don't market to underage. Yes you do. And you know it. Marlrose mascot is a handsome rugged cowboy. He's Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood rolled into one. You don't think young men want to be like him? Now if you're telling me your clients are open to discontinuing the Marlboro man and Joe Campbell for that matter, then I think we can make some actual progress here today. Hoplow turns to Bible and Goldstone. The CEOs give imperceptible nods. All right fine. They're willing to drop the mascot's mic. All right? Okay. More is pleased with the direction these talks are taking so far, but he doesn't let on. Coplow continues. But remember Mike, we want a few things in return. We want peace. And that means immunity. Immunity from Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregor cuts them off. Yeah, yeah we know. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. You just said that, but you also say you want peace. You say you want peace? Well, I'll tell you right now that if you mean peace at the price of taking away the rights of my citizens to sue you, it isn't going to happen. And you want to know why? It's because your industry sells death. Coplow looks wounded. Jesus Christy. More feels like this meeting has suddenly jumped off the rails. He hurries to correct course. I hate. All right. Look, this is very emotional for all of us. Let me discuss your proposal with my team in private. I think now is probably a good time for a break. The tobacco delegates rise quickly and begin to file out. The negotiations have just begun, but already more realizes this is going to be much more difficult than he thought. It's a balancing act. Because while more intends to be tough on Big Tobacco, he also knows that these talks will fall apart if his team is too aggressive. And the White House is counting on him to get this done. More takes a deep breath. They'll simply have to lead by example and remain calm and diplomatic. Big Tobacco is like a coiled snake. If more on his team want to avoid its strike, they'll have to move around it. Slowly, carefully, with the utmost caution. Three weeks later, Jeff Bible sits in the Cloister Hotel in C. Island, Georgia. The hotel's Bible's favorite building on the island, an architectural marvel, complete with five star restaurants. But Bible has been unable to savor any of it. He's here for Philip Morris's annual company retreat. Most years, he arrives at C. Island, feeling like a king. But this year, the kingdom feels like it's under siege. The ongoing settlement talks with Mike Moore have been hard enough, but now there's an even bigger threat on the horizon. This morning, a judge in North Carolina will announce whether or not the FDA can regulate tobacco. If the judge rules in favor of the FDA, Philip Morris could face stunning new government regulations. And that means they could lose an important bargaining chip in the settlement talks with Mike Moore. They could be forced to adopt strict new rules without getting anything in return. Bible looks around the hotel conference room with a grim expression. His subordinates follow his lead. They seem dower and ready for the worst news. The group sits in silence, waiting for the 11 a.m. announcement from the judge. The silence is broken by a steady thought of running footsteps down the hallway. The door busts open and Bible's lawyer steps in, gasping for breath. In his sweaty hands are several sheets of paper, the news from North Carolina. Bible's eyes narrow. The lawyer looks up, shakes his head and says, we lost. Everyone but Bible starts talking at once. There's sputtering voices, rise, and fall and waves of despair. Bible just turns and stares out the window. He watches a pair of amateur golfers out on the green, teeing off without a care in the world. As of today, the FDA can regulate tobacco as a drug. The agency can force cigarette retailers to check for proof of age. It can ban cigarette vending machines and businesses that aren't restricted to adults. Even worse, the next time Bible's team faces off with Mike Moore, Moore will have all of the negotiating power. Philip Morris will appeal in North Carolina decision, of course. But Bible already suspects the effort will be fruitless. Between Jeff Waiyan's 60 minutes bomb show, the upcoming billion dollar settlement, and this morning's legal loss to the FDA. It feels like the tobacco industry is falling apart. Bible closes his eyes and feels a pang of sadness. It feels like a glorious era is coming to an end. Just two months after the FDA decision on June 20, 1997, Mike Moore sits on the edge of his seat, his mind buzzing with a sense of anticipation. Today, Moore is in the park high at hotel in Washington, D.C. This is the day he spent years working towards. The cigarette makers and anti tobacco lawyers have spent two solid months in painful negotiations with late night screaming matches and aggressive leaks to the media. But now they finally reach the settlement that both sides can live with. It's nearly complete and ready to be announced. Moore looks up at Richard Scruggs, Christine Gregor and the other state attorneys general. They're all pacing nervously. The deal should have closed by now, but Moore has yet to hear from Big Tobacco. Moore frowns. There's only one person who could be holding this up. Martin Broughton, the CEO of British American Tobacco, he's still refusing to sign. British American Tobacco owns Brown and Williamson, where Jeffrey Waiyan violated his confidentiality agreement. The proposed settlement would force Broughton to drop his lawsuit against Waiyan. Broughton has said he won't do it, that it's going too far. Moore suddenly stands, approaches the window, and peers through the blinds. Cross the street, reporters and camera crews are streaming into the A&A hotel. They expect Moore to arrive any minute to publicly announce the settlement. Moore doesn't know how much longer any of them can wait. He's about to pick up the nearest phone to try and get some answers when the conference room door swings wide open. A tobacco company negotiator enters, alongside Jeffrey Waiyan's newest lawyer. On their faces are satisfied Grins. The negotiator excitedly declares that Broughton agreed to drop the suit against Waiyan. It was Jeff Bible, who finally convinced him. Moore can hardly believe it, the deal is officially done. He turns to face the other attorney's general, and the group breaks out into a cheer. Moore wipes a beat of sweat from his forehead, and begins highlighting key points of the settlement. Big tobacco is done selling tobacco through vending machines. It will no longer advertise outdoors, or sponsor sports, or cultural events. And the industry has to pay $15 billion each year to federal and state governments and anti smoking groups. The payments last in perpetuity. Altogether the settlement will cost Big Tobacco a staggering $368 billion. Moore almost chuckles as he considers the final price tag. Many remembers the time, they have to rush across the street. Press is waiting. Just moments later, Mike Moore and his team stride through the lobby of the A&A hotel heading toward the ballroom. Moore feels laser focused, energized. He can hear the clamor of news, correspondence, and other invited guests, but then he pauses. He wants to save this moment. He turns to his colleagues and smiles. Hold on, hold on. Before we go in there, I just want to thank you all for hanging in there. You stuck with this, even when it looked like it was falling apart. But Richard Scrugg shakes his head and steps forward. Actually, Mike, we should be thanking you. No, I appreciate that. This was a team effort. You go on and say that if it makes you feel better, but we all know the truth. The truth is, Dickey, this team did a great thing, and there's no one here. Okay. Alright, so you're not a hero. But I will say this. I didn't think you could win against tobacco. I didn't think I'd ever pull it off until you asked me to join the case. And now look, we've got reporters ready to hear from us. Please, lead the way. No, no, no. We're all walking in side by side. Moore opens the door's wide. There's an eruption of cameras flashing and shutters clicking as news photographers take pictures. Together, Moore and Scrugg walk up to the podium, followed closely by the other attorneys general. Moore takes the stage, steps up to the podium, adjust the microphone. We are here today to announce what we think is we know we believe is the most historic public health achievement in history. After Moore finishes his remarks, there's a commotion near the entrance of the room. The gray haired man with glasses had just walked in and the crowd began to murmur. They recognized the man, and so does Mike Moore. With every white gand walks into the ballroom and leans against the back wall with a humble smile. Without any prompting, the reporters begin to stand. They turn to white gand and begin to applaud. White gand looks slightly embarrassed and offers a crowd shy wave. Even from across the room, Moore can see that white gand has tears of joy in his eyes. Moore then begins to clap harder and louder than he's ever clapped for anyone in his life. Today is a day he will never forget. Two years later, Jeffrey White gand walks along the beach in Charleston, South Carolina. It's late in the day. The air is chilly and crisp, but it's still a beautiful evening. The sun has just begun its descent towards the horizon. White gand looks out at the crashing waves and allows himself to become lost in thought. So much has changed in the last two years. He and LaCretia finalize their divorce, and White gand left Louisville for good. Now he lives in Charleston, far from his old life. He doesn't see anyone from Brown and Williams him anymore. Charleston is calm and relaxed, and White gand gets to spend time with his dad, who doesn't live too far away. Still White gand can't fully get away from everything that happened these last few years. Next month, a major Hollywood movie is coming out and dramatizes White gand struggles. His two youngest daughters are eager to join him at the Los Angeles premiere. White gand has seen the movie, thinks it's really good, but it's still hard to believe that so much has happened since that day, ten years ago, when he walked into Brown and Williams and for his first day of work. As White gand stares out at the foaming waves, a man comes walking toward him. White gand notices and tenses up. He may be far from Louisville, but just last week he was in a restaurant when a passerby suddenly lunged at him, calling him a loser for betraying the tobacco industry. So now as this man approaches him on the beach, White gand titans his fist. His heart races. The man stops and asks if White gand's got a light. White gand shakes his head and says, no, he doesn't smoke. The man nods and continues on his way. The sun sets in the sky, darkens. It was at that moment White gand realizes that despite the confrontation from the other night, he actually feels safe. Lowell Bergman promised this would happen. White gand didn't fully believe him back then, but now he sees that Bergman was right. But not only is White gand feeling safe, he's content. He, all of his fear seemed to have dissipated and drifted away like the tendrils of smoke in the night air. The big tobacco settlement, formerly known as the tobacco master settlement agreement, was officially approved in November of 1998. That same year, several top tobacco executives, including Jeff Bible, appeared before a congressional committee. The executives admitted that cigarettes cause cancer and are addictive. Though anti tobacco advocates have made great strides, their battle continues. The use of traditional cigarettes has declined, but vaping devices known as eSigrets have exploded in popularity. ESigret companies such as Jewel have generated billions of dollars, but have also come under intense scrutiny. Jewel has been accused of targeting underage users, and contributing to what many medical professionals describe as a youth nicotine epidemic. The company has been the subject of multiple lawsuits and faced investigations by the FDA. Mike Moore continued to serve as attorney general of Mississippi until 2004, now runs his own law firm. Since then, he sued multiple pharmaceutical companies and distributors, arguing that they incited the American opioid crisis. Following the broadcast of Jeffrey Wigand's landmark 1996 interview, Lowell Bergman further cemented his reputation as one of America's finest investigative reporters. In May 2006, he was named a distinguished professor at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. The Wigand piece he produced for 60 minutes is studied and celebrated to this day. Merrill Williams rose to national prominence following his theft of confidential memos. He spent the remainder of his life as a passionate anti smoking activist. He died on November 18, 2013, of a heart attack at age 72. And Jeffrey Wigand currently travels the world as a lecturer and consultant, helping government's craft tobacco control policies. He now also runs an anti smoking organization called Smoke Free Kids. Reflecting on his legacy as a whistleblower, Wigand said this, I am honored that people think I am a hero, but I do not accept that monitor, as others are much more deserving of it. I did what was right, have no regrets, and would do it again. As you see, we were just ordinary people placed in some extraordinary situations and did the right thing, as all should do. Next on American Scandal, we speak with Anise Kim, a public health expert who studies how tobacco and eCigarettes are marketed online. We'll discuss what's changed since the late 90s and how the industry now uses social media to draw into customers. From Wondery, this is episode 4 of Big Tobacco for American Scandal. A quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said, but all our dramatizations are based on historical research. If you'd like to learn more about the fight against Big Tobacco, we recommend to book The People vs Big Tobacco by Tarrant Mollon Camp, Adam Levy, Joseph Men, and Jeffrey Rothfetter. Also the article, The Man Who New Too Much by Marie Brunner. American Scandal is hosted, edited, and executive produced by me, Lindsey Graham for Airship. Audio editing by Molly Bach, Sound Design by Derek Barrett. This episode is written by Hannibal DS, edited by Christina Mollsberger, produced by Gabe Riven. The producers are Stephanie Jenns, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and her nonlopes for Wondery.