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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.
Tue, 21 Jul 2020 09:00
Mike Moore files a landmark lawsuit. Jeffrey Wigand comes under attack. And the producers of 60 Minutes face a major roadblock, as they try to tell the story about Big Tobacco.
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It's April 1994 in Pascagula, Mississippi. Mike Moore is pushing a cart down a sidewalk. It's heavy and loaded to the brim with cardboard boxes. Moore tugs at his damp collar, wipes his forehead. You can't wait to get out of this Mississippi heat. Moore may be the state's attorney general, but today's work has to be done in secret, no extra help from assistance. Though he does have one extra set of hands, Richard scrugs his friend and fellow attorney walks alongside Moore and helps steady the boxes. Moore turns around and sees Merrill Williams straggling behind them. The former paralegal is now there whistleblower, and while he's a strange man, Moore thanks God that Williams has agreed to help. Because if his promises are true, Williams has a treasure trove of evidence that could incriminate Big Tobacco and deal the industry a mortal blow. Now Moore needs to get to a safe place so he can open the boxes, see the documents for himself. The three men reach the entrance of a darkened bank. Scrugs pulls the set of keys from his pocket and unlocks the door. They head inside where Scruggs owns a private vault. Dickie, this is perfect. What do you think, Merrill? Well, beats my basement. I'm sure the last few days have been pretty interesting for you, Merrill. Flying out to Florida on Dickie's jet, lugging around these files, now being in a private bank vault, sure it's all overwhelming, but I don't want you to worry about anything. Williams casts a sideways glance. Do I look worried? After today, this is your show to run. I'm just passing the baton. That's right, yeah, you've done your part. Future generations will remember this. Yeah, well don't bow down just yet. Check out the memos first. Maybe they're nothing special. Maybe we should just turn around and I'll take these back home. No, no, no, we don't think you're crazy, Merrill, or anything else. Let's just have a quick look. Come on, Dickie. Open her up. Scruggs grips the heavy wheel on the front of the vault and slowly turns it. Then he switches on a light. More notices, rows of dusty, safe deposit boxes. A small table stands in the corner. All right, let's put some boxes over there. More squats and lifts a couple boxes. And nearly laughs, they're as heavy as boulders. He walks them to a table and drops them with a thud. With his heart beating fast, he turns to Williams. So, this is the big moment. Does it matter which one we open first? No, they're all filled with bad news. More peels the tape off one of the boxes. Feels a sense of anticipation. He opens the box slowly, pulls out a document, and then holds it up to the light. Oh my, this one's about advertising. And children, it says that the ads are targeting, quote, potential smokers of 18 years of age or younger. More's jaw falls open. He looks up at Williams. Merrill, you aren't lying. No, I was not. But they sure were. Keep reading. More grabs another document. Oh, Dickie, it's all right here. More looks up at Scroggs, feeling an equal mix of shock and indignation. Right here, nicotine, addictive, and then here, must ensure maximum delivery of nicotine to consumer. Remember the hearings last week? All the heads of tobacco companies, they all lied. More turns to Williams. You did it, Merrill. You did it. Thanks to you, these guys are going to be toast. Williams gives Scroggs a more solemn look than turns away, clearly emotional. More knows that Williams has been through a lot. They can read the rest of the files later. All right, Dickie, let's get these locked up and then we can meet back in my office. It's time to start making some calls. I know 49 other attorneys generally will be interested. We got to get them in on this. As more in Scroggs pack up the boxes, more can feel a surge of energy. There's no stopping them now. The companies have gotten away with murder. Now, not only does he have the proof, he has the power to stop them. More turns to Williams. He gives a rare smile. Then Williams looks down and walks out of the bank vault. The two attorneys finish packing up and follow him out and into the bright light of day. American scandal is sponsored by the new ABC drama Alaska Daily. When an indigenous woman goes missing in Alaska, it sparks new questions about other missing and murdered indigenous women. And that's where the thrilling new ABC drama Alaska Daily begins and where it's headed will have you on the edge of your seat. Two time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank stars as Eileen, a veteran reporter who joins a team of local journalists working to bring the truth to light. From Academy Award winning screenwriter Tom McCarthy, Alaska Daily premieres Thursday, October 6th on ABC and streams next day on Hulu. 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. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts. From Wondery, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American Scandal. In 1993, attorneys Mike Moore and Richard Scrugg cemented their plans to sue the tobacco industry. They were convinced a massive lawsuit could bring the industry to its knees, but to win, they needed proof of big tobacco's wrongdoings. Moore soon found his first whistleblower, a former paralegal with stolen documents from the cigarette maker Brown and Williamson. Meanwhile, a former tobacco executive named Jeffrey Wigan was also gathering his courage. Coax by a relentless journalist, Wigan began disclosing his secrets to members of the government and the media. The tobacco leaders realized that their industry was in peril and so it's time for big tobacco to strike back. This is Episode 3. Retaliation. It's May 23, 1994. Mike Moore steps outside a county courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi. The sun is shining in his eyes and he squints as he gazes at a group of reporters waiting for him. Moore approaches the cameras and microphones and he issues a broad smile. He has to look strong, confident because this is one of the most important moments of his life. The reporters are gathered in front of the courthouse because today Mike Moore took a major step in his fight against big tobacco. As Mississippi's attorney general, Moore strode into the courthouse and filed suit against 13 cigarette companies. Standing on the courthouse steps, Moore fixes his tie and looks out at the small army of reporters. Then he begins explaining that this is the first lawsuit against big tobacco with a real chance of large scale success. A journalist calls out a question asking what makes this suit so different. Moore nods, telling the crowd, this lawsuit is premised on a simple notion. You cause this health crisis, you pay for it. He takes more questions as the reporters crowd in. And while he projects confidence with each answer, inside he knows the truth. Nothing about this lawsuit is simple. In fact, Moore and his colleagues are about to enter the fight of their lives. Moore knows that the tobacco industry will fight back ruthlessly. He can expect personal attacks, witness intimidation, Moore lies from tobacco CEOs. And if Moore and his team lose this suit, they'll look like amateurs who tripped on the national stage. It could very well mean the end of their careers. Moore warned his fellow attorneys about all of these risks. He said that if anyone wanted to withdraw from the case, he wouldn't hold it against them. But the attorneys were unanimous. They wouldn't quit no matter what. At that moment, Moore felt a swell of pride and hope, a feeling that still lifts his spirits right now on the court house steps. He doesn't mind the cameras or the shouting reporters, because this is all part of the plan. He wants big tobacco to see this coverage and understand that he's not going anywhere. It's late May 1994 in Washington, D.C. Mike Moore and Richard Scruggs wait on the hallway outside the office of Congressman Henry Waxman. At their feet are two cardboard boxes full of documents. Moore feels impatient and taps his fingers on the arm rest of his chair. He made his announcement on the court house steps just days ago, and since then, his life has gotten fast paced. He's called attorneys general across the country and asked them to join his fight against big tobacco. Many have said yes, sending him and Scruggs scrambling coast to coast on Scrugg's private jet for meetings. This night they were in North Carolina, now they're in the nation's capital. Moore rubs his eyes and sips out a paper cup of coffee. He's exhausted, but this might be the most critical meeting yet. Congressman Henry Waxman has worked in government for decades, and since his first day in office, he's been a major opponent of big tobacco. Moore knows that that's why he has to see the incredible evidence that Merrill Williams stole and stashed away in his basement. Moore believes that once Waxman gets a glimpse of the documents they've brought today, the congressman will take a public stand. He'll support their lawsuit, Moore hopes, and that in turn will convince Big Tobacco that it can't win this legal battle. Instead, the industry will be forced to negotiate a massive settlement on Moore's terms. The door to Waxman's office creaks open, and Moore and Scruggs stand. The congressman bounds forward in a crisp suit. Waxman smiles and shakes hands, then turns his attention to the cardboard boxes on the floor, asking what's inside. Moore replies that it would be better to discuss this in a private setting. Waxman understands. Moore and Scruggs then lift the boxes and follow Waxman into his office. Congressman closes the door behind them. Once inside the office, Moore and Scruggs march over to Waxman's desk and drop the heavy boxes. Moore turns to the congressman and cuts the chase. They've brought tobacco company internal documents courtesy of a concerned citizen. Waxman steps away from the boxes as if they're somehow tainted. Moore breathes, composing himself. He understands that stolen documents are a minefield for a congressman, but he reminds Waxman that last month, seven tobacco executives declared under oath that nicotine is not addictive. All seven of those men lied to Waxman enter the rest of Congress. The proof is in these boxes. Waxman shakes his head and gays us out the window. He turns back to Moore and Scruggs and tells them to pick up the boxes and follow him. Moore suddenly feels a not an instant stomach. He wonders whether this was a mistake or miscalculation, but then Waxman smiles and looks profoundly satisfied. He waves them forward and says that he's waited 30 years for this moment, Pat's mic more on the shoulder. The three walk down the hall and turn into another office where several aid sit from front of computers. Waxman orders them to drop what they're doing. They now need to start preparing written summaries of everything inside these boxes. Waxman turns to Moore with a fiery look in his eyes, announcing that it's time to take action. It's June 1994 and a warm summer night in Louisville, Kentucky. Jeffrey Wigan gays his dad at his youngest daughter. She dozed off minutes ago as he read her a children's book. Wigan tightens the blanket over her shoulders and smiles as he softly closes the bedroom door. With everything that's happened lately, it feels good to be home again. Wigan recently returned from Maryland. It was there he met with a commissioner of the FDA, one of the highest ranking officials in President Bill Clinton's administration. Right now, the FDA is considering whether to regulate nicotine as a drug. The commissioner was eager to learn about the way the tobacco industry manipulates nicotine levels in cigarettes. Wigan had pointed him towards secret patents that B&W held in Brazil. This for a tobacco plant with twice the normal nicotine content. After finally breaking his silence, Wigan felt a flood of relief. But while the FDA commissioner pushed Wigan to go public, he refused. He couldn't risk flouting his confidentiality agreement, not with Big Tobacco's appetite for vengeance. Wigan hadn't even told the FDA his true identity. The commissioner only knew Wigan by his code name, research. But tonight, Wigan is just dad. He walks away from his daughter's doorway and heads down the hall. The phone rings and he stops. It's probably Lowell Bergman again. The journalist likely has more questions about the filimores documents. Wigan is doing his best to help, but he also told Bergman not to call this late. Wigan enters the kitchen and reaches for the cordless phone. Hello? Is there someone there? How are your kids? Wigan suddenly feels like he's being pulled down into the ground. He starts to shake. What? What did you say? They're pretty girls, aren't they? Would be sad if something happened to them. Stay away from tobacco. Wait, who is this? Hello? Hey. Wigan's breathing grows faster, shorter. He's about to dial 911, but then stops himself. They'll ask too many questions. And there's no point in going upstairs and terrifying his wife about this. He realizes there's only one person he can talk to right now. Hello? Lowell? It's Jeffrey. Jeff, what's up? Uh, I got a call. What about? A guy. He just threatened my kids. He said stay away from tobacco or the girls would get hurt. I, uh, Lowell, I told you. I told you this was too dangerous. Jeff, Jeff, I need you to calm down. Who have you been talking to, Lowell? I haven't told anyone. We're being as careful as we possibly can, but people are going to talk. It's inevitable. Still, I don't want you to be scared. Don't want me to be scared, Lowell. They threaten my kids. Jeff, your family's going to be okay. I have been a reporter my whole life. You think I haven't got calls like that? I've heard it all. It's just empty threats from cowards. They're the ones who are scared, okay? They're scared. They're scared because you know you can beat them. I don't know, Lowell. I don't know. You want to make sure they never call you again? Go public. I've been talking a lot with Mike Wallace. Many things you should go on tape for 60 minutes and so do I. No, you got to be crazy. No, I am serious. This isn't the time to run away. Tell the world what BMW has done. You'll be a hero and maybe others will come forward. Jeff, Jeff, you're still there? I'm here. You want me to go on your show. I'll think about it, but it's not entirely up to me. I have to convince my wife. Yeah, that's a good idea. Yeah, you do that. It's not going to be easy. No, it never is. Wigan hangs up, then ceases wife Lucretia standing in the doorway. She says she heard him yelling and she wants to know if everything is okay. Wigan asks her to sit down. They have a lot to talk about. Nine months later, Jeffrey Wigan sits in a French bistro in downtown Louisville. He takes a bite of food and looks over at his elegantly dressed wife. A nice restaurant, a charcuterie board, this should be a romantic date. Wigan thinks to himself. But he and Lucretia are not on a date because across the table sits Loll Bergman, the 60 minutes producer. Bergman flew in from California that very afternoon and he's here with an important message. The 60 minutes team has waited as long as they can. They need to get Jeffrey Wigan on tape. Bergman has come out to Kentucky in person to address any reservations the two may have. Wigan begins to speak, but Lucretia interrupts him. She tells Bergman that a lot has changed since that night her husband said he'd be open to an interview. He started a new chapter in his life, teaching chemistry to local high school. Unfortunately she continues, this new chapter only earns him $30,000 a year. She's worried that her husband will go public and then Brown and Williamson will come after him with a lawsuit. It'll ruin the family financially and so Lucretia wants to know what 60 minutes will do to ensure this doesn't happen. Wigan wiped his mouth on a cloth napkin. He admits there's not much he can do to prevent a lawsuit, but they won't be defenseless. He's confident that anti tobacco lawyers would step forward to represent them free of charge. Wigan puts his hand on top of Lucretia's, but to his surprise she quickly pulls away. And he can tell her anger and worries are about to come spilling out. Lucretia turns back to Bergman and tells him even if they did get free legal counsel, the family is still receiving death threats. She feels more afraid every day. Lucretia says that if she has to choose between exposing the tobacco industry and the safety of her family, she chooses her family. She wants her husband to walk away from the selfish crusade. Bergman starts to explain himself what Lucretia cuts him off. Wigan feels his chest grow tight, his breath short. For weeks he's felt this way. He's torn between his wife and family on one hand and his obligations to tell the truth on the other. Lucretia narrows her eyes. Accuses Bergman of risking her husband's life all for TV ratings. Bergman says she's wrong, it's not about the ratings, but then Jeffrey Wigan slams his fist against the table. He tells everyone to stop talking. Wigan turns to Lucretia. Quietly he reminds his wife that he's scared too, but the public has a right to know how dangerous smoking truly is. It's not selfish to go on 60 minutes. It would be selfish not to. He asks Lucretia if she understands. She turns her head and stares into the distance. Wigan can see her eyes welling up. He then looks over at Bergman. Besides, he feels exhausted. It's taking him months and he finally feels ready to tell the truth to the whole world. He can only hope that Lucretia will come around too. But no matter how bad the fighting yet, Wigan has made up his mind. There is no turning back. 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. Ask 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. It's September 12, 1995. Lowell Bergman sits in the conference room in the offices of 60 minutes in New York City. Sunlight streams in through the floor to ceiling windows, but today Bergman's mood is dark. He clenches his jaws as he thinks back on everything that's happened in the last month. Jeffery Wigan finally sat down to tape an interview with 60 minutes correspondent Mike Wallace. Wigan had far exceeded Bergman's expectations. He spelled out the crimes of Big Tobacco in a direct and captivating way that anyone could understand. Bergman knows that once the interview airs, no one will ever look at a pack of cigarettes the same way again. It was one of those rare interviews that could change the world. But that's exactly why Bergman is so furious right now. After all his work and of Wigan's sacrifices, 60 minutes is now reluctant to air the interview. Its network CBS is afraid of the fallout. Bergman scans the conference room. He locks eyes with 60 minutes executive producers. He clenches his teeth and glances at the president of CBS News and the network's lawyers. Everyone looks just as fatigued and irritated as Bergman is. They've been arguing for hours. Dylan Caden, CBS's general counsel, leans forward. I need everyone in this room to understand something. Jeffery Wigan places us in grave danger. He signed a strict confidentiality agreement. If we air this interview, BMW not only can sue Wigan, they can sue CBS too. Bergman frowns. Since when do we care about confidentiality agreements between other people? They've never stopped us in the past. We've never tangled with an industry like Big Tobacco in the past. ABC just faced a massive libel suit from Philip Morris. We can't let CBS take that kind of risk. Bergman shifts in his seat. He knows that news is a business with expenses and bottom lines, but revealing the truth, informing the public about lies and corruption, that is more important than money. Bergman turns back to the CBS lawyer. Ellen, I don't know what went wrong over at ABC, but they shouldn't have settled with the tobacco industry. Everything ABC said about Philip Morris was true. cigarette makers manipulate nicotine levels. They should have to answer for it. Kaden remains quiet. So did the other producers and executives at the table. It's then Bergman realizes that no one here is going to back him up. Everyone is too scared Big Tobacco. Bergman shuts his eyes, peigned at the irony. Jeffery Wigan is now a worn out middle aged guy with a low paying job. He comes home to death threats, and yet Wigan has more courage than a room full of media executives, all shielded by a multi billion dollar corporation. One of those executives clears his throat. Tell you what, though. I think we can still do the story, but only if we cut the wine interview. At that Bergman stands, his hands clenched. We're making a terrible mistake. All of you, terrible mistake. Bergman scowls as he surveys the room one last time. But the other executives look the other way. Bergman shakes his head. A room full of cowards, all of them, he thinks. And he storms out of their conference room. It slams the door behind him. It's November, 1995 in Louisville, Kentucky. Jeffery Wigan stands in front of his bedroom mirror and adjusts the knot of his tie. His wife, Lucretia, is downstairs getting the kids dressed and ready for school. Wigan is getting ready for school as well. Wigan is feeling better than he's felt in months. He knows that his 60 minutes interview will soon run on national TV. More important, he genuinely enjoys his life as a high school chemistry teacher. It's the polar opposite of his time with Big Tobacco. Teachers guide and inspire young people. Tobacco companies manipulate and poison them. Sure, his position at Brown and Williamson was lucrative, but he wouldn't trade all the money in the world for finally being able to look his daughters in the eye. Just then the phone rings and Wigan's sense of inner calm is instantly shattered. For all the normalcy of his life as a teacher, he's been leading a second life, a more dangerous one. Wigan has spoken not only to CBS and the FDA, but he's now contributing to the Justice Department's criminal investigation of Big Tobacco. And he hasn't stopped there. Wigan also started talking to a lawyer named Richard Scruggs. Scruggs and his colleague Mike Moore want Wigan to come down to Mississippi and testify for their tobacco lawsuit. As the phone rings, Wigan thinks he could be one of the two attorneys calling right now or could be another death threat. Wigan swallows and reaches for the phone, anticipating the worst. He identifies himself and a shock to hear the person on the other line say, good morning Mr. Wigan, this is Mike Wallace at 60 minutes. Wigan immediately relaxes. There's no question it's the veteran broadcaster. Two men bonded while shooting the 60 minutes interview this summer, but something about the call feels unusual. Normally, Lowell Bergman reaches out when there's business. Wigan tries to shake off the nerves and thanks Wallace for calling. He adds that he's been thinking a lot about their interview and looks forward to seeing it on TV. But then, there's a long pause. And when Wallace finally speaks, his first two words are, I'm sorry. Wigan can feel his energy suddenly drain away, as Wallace explains that, unfortunately, there will be no broadcast. Wallace says this wasn't his call, nor was it Bergman's. The decision was made far above their pay grade. Wigan feels a hollow pit for him in his stomach. He can't believe what he's hearing. But Wallace continues, explaining that the problem is Wigan's confidentiality agreement. CBS is concerned that if 60 minutes puts Wigan on the air, the network could be sued for billions. Wallace says he knows that Wigan risks Deloitte by talking to him. But their hands are tied and he's truly sorry. Wallace thanks Wigan for his courage, says he hopes that one day, the world will know his story. Wigan's head feels like it's spinning. He blankly murmurs the words thank you before ending the call. He slowly places the phone down, feeling lost, a drift, like his body is somewhere else. But more than anything, he feels betrayed. At that moment, he also feels like giving up. But as he looks at himself in the mirror, and sees a face that's grown older by the day, he reminds himself. He doesn't matter if CBS got scared and dropped the story, because the fight isn't over. A few days later, Wigan wraps up his last bit of planning, packs up his bag, and steps outside the high school. As he makes his way to the parking lot, he turns and looks at the towering brick building where he now works. It's large, sturdy, and somehow makes him feel safe, safer than he does at home, as the battle with Big Tobacco threatens to tear his family apart. Lately he and LaCretia have been fighting. They've argued over Wigan's life as a whistleblower, and about everything else, too. So as he's watched his marriage falter, Wigan has found excuses to spend more and more time at work. The afternoon light has grown soft as Wigan walks toward his car, with his head down. Then he hears a metallic screech, and turns to find a black sedan pulling into the lot. Wigan frowns, the car's windows are tinted black, and he's never seen it in the faculty lot before. It takes a step backward. Something about this just doesn't feel right. Suddenly, the car accelerates toward Wigan. He feels a cold, heavy sensation as his body goes stiff. He wants to move his legs, but can't. Wigan stares and disbelief as the car rapidly approaches. For a moment, he stops breathing. They really meant it when they said they were going to kill him for talking about the Tobacco industry. Now he's about to pay for his stupidity with his own life. As the car approaches, the driver's side window begins to roll down. Wigan braces himself for a gun. As he faces his last moments on Earth, Wigan thinks of his daughters and shuts his eyes. But then the car screeches to a halt. Wigan slowly opens his eyes. The driver's windows now fully open, and behind the wheels it's a plain looking man. No gun inside, just a small envelope in the man's hand. The man asks if he is speaking to Jeffrey Wigan. Wigan stammeres, yes, that he's Jeffrey Wigan. Then the man hands him the envelope and drives off. Dazed, Wigan opens the envelope, his hands trembling. He unfolds the paper within and begins to read. It doesn't take long to get the gist of the document. Brown and Williamson is aware that he's divulging confidential details of its inner workings. They're suing him for breach of contract and will see him in court. Wigan shows the paper in his pocket, his heart still beating hard. He realizes that they want to bully him into silence. And for a moment he considers giving up, seeing what he can do to salvage his future. But then he thinks back in his time as a student of judo, back when he was a younger man. The martial art taught him to absorb the energy of an opponent and use it against him. It occurs to Wigan that he can do the same with B&W. If the tobacco giant truly wants to fight him in an open court, then he'll get on the stand and expose the industry like never before. Wigan knows his cause is just, and he now has two opportunities to prove that publicly. He can respond to this new lawsuit from B&W, and he can tell his story next week in Mississippi from Mike Moore and Richard Scruggs. For a moment, Wigan feared that he was about to die. But that moment came and went. He's still here, and somehow he feels more alive than ever. His pulse is quickening, Wigan climbs into the car. He jams the keys into the ignition, and feels a rush, as the engine's roar to life. It's the morning of November 29th, 1995. Mike Moore stands in front of the courthouse in Pascagula, Mississippi. He checks his watch and begins to pace. Jeffrey Wigan is late. He was scheduled to give a deposition this morning. If Wigan doesn't show up, Moore's case will be in serious jeopardy. Moore reconstructs the conversation he had with Wigan last month when they met for the first time. In Jeffrey Wigan, Moore had found exactly the person he needed. Sure, Wigan was anxious and prickly, but more important, he was relatable and could recall key conversations and secret industry practices in detail. Moore checks his watch again, Wigan should have been here 20 minutes ago. Moore begins to wonder if Wigan led his fear to get the better of him, or if he'd never seriously intended to testify in the first place. Just a few miles away, Jeffrey Wigan sits huddling the back of a town car as the driver speeds toward downtown Pascagula. Wigan's flight was delayed, and now he's running late for his court appearance. The Wigan's left is defense attorney Efron Marglin, a genial, white haired civil liberties lawyer from California. Marglin will be at Wigan's side during today's deposition. But here in the car, Marglin reminds Wigan that today's pretrial hearing should be relatively straightforward. Wigan will be asked a series of questions about his time at Brown and Williamson. All he needs to do is answer truthfully. Wigan responds with a grim nod. The car turns a corner and comes to a stop outside Pascagula's modest one story courthouse. Wigan looks out the window and pauses in shock. Despite the winery morning, there's a crowd gathered at the entrance. Wigan wonders aloud, but all the onlookers are doing here. Marglin explains that Wigan is quite possibly one of the most important whistleblowers in the history of the country. Half these people are local reporters who want to glimpse of him. Wigan asks about the other half. Marglin frowns and tells Wigan the truth, they're big tobacco attorneys here in a show of force. Suddenly Wigan doesn't want to get out of the car. He has a wild impulse to tell the driver to step on the gas. But instead, he leans back and takes several deep breaths. He feels like a first time swimmer on the edge of a very high diving board. Marglin adds that it's his duty to inform Wigan that his appearance at today's pretrial deposition is not without risk. Wigan is about to violate an extremely unforgiving confidentiality agreement. There's a slight but real chance that when Wigan returns to Kentucky, he'll be arrested. Wigan swallows hard, looks out the window one more time, and then he decides that he cannot turn back now. Wigan grasps the door handle once again and looks Marglin in the eye. Let's do it, he says, before stepping out into the cold. A month later, Richard Scrugg sits on the deck of his vacation home in Key West, Florida. He takes a moment to admire the sunset and then turns his attention back to the document in his hands. It's the transcript of Jeffrey Wigan's testimony, and Scrugg doesn't think he'll ever get tired of reading it. Wigan held nothing back. He even revealed that Brown and Williamson flavored his pipe tobacco with a known carcinogen a compound similar to the one used in Rat poison. He and W's lawyers had objected strongly, but even then, Wigan had simply cleared his throat and kept talking. Scrugg continues writing notes on the transcript when his phone rings. Scrugg walks inside and picks it up. It's his secretary, but she sounds concerned, saying that she doesn't want to disturb him, but she has a reporter from the Washington Post on the line. It sounds urgent. Scrugg says to put the reporter through, and when the reporter is on the line, she explains that she's calling to discuss Jeffrey Wigan. Scrugg says he'd be happy to talk about Wigan, and he considers the man a hero. But there's a pause on the other end of the line. Reporter asks Scrugg's if he's at all concerned about Wigan's checkered past. Scrugg's raises an eyebrow, and the reporter continues. She says there are rumors that Wigan is an abusive husband. Wigan's wife, Lucretia, alleges that he wants hit her during an argument. Scrugg sits down heavily as the reporter asks for a response. Scrugg admits he was unaware of any allegations. He asks where she got this information, but the reporter says she's not willing to give that away. So frowning, Scrugg says he has no further comment. He quickly hangs up, and then dials Wigan. Scrugg's is a direct man. He wants to get to the truth and resolve this matter immediately. The phone rings twice, and Wigan picks up. Scrugg tells him that there's a problem, and relays everything he's just heard. There's a long silence. Inpatient, Scrugg's asks if Wigan has ever hit his wife. Wigan says that he was a misunderstanding. He struggled with alcohol, and tries to drink as little as possible now. But he was drunk the night of the incident with Lucretia. It was a mistake. They had had an argument about Brown and Williamson, and Lucretia had hit him in the back with a coat hanger. She claims that Wigan smashed her nose in return, though he doesn't remember doing this. The police were called, but no charges were made. He and Lucretia had tried their best to put that awful night behind them. Wigan's voice breaks, and Scrugg suddenly feels winded, like he just ran a long race. This could complicate everything about their case. But Wigan doesn't stay quiet, though. He tells Scrugg's that it's obvious what happened. The NW hired private detectives to dig into his past and discredit his testimony. Scrugg's pauses, nodding his head. He knows that this is right. And he believes Wigan told the truth tonight. The problem is, it may not matter. If Big Tobacco can publicize enough damaging half truths about Wigan, his credibility will be destroyed, and the landmark case could be compromised. Scrugg's size then tells Wigan not to worry. He and Mike Moore will figure out a way to handle this. He tells Wigan to try and get some sleep. They all have more work to do. A month later, in New York City, Mike Wallace paces the length of his office. He stops and pages through a travelite dinner area. Wallace, at 77 years old, will soon head to Washington to accept the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. A knock on the door stops his pacing. Wallace looks up, and with his intense gaze focused on the door, he calls the visitor in. The door swings open, and in walks a man in a light gray suit and lavender tie. Where's a broad grin? He reintroduces himself, his name is John Scanlon. Scanlon is a mastermind of public relations. He reminds Wallace that he called earlier this week and said he wanted to come in and talk about Jeffrey Wigan. Wallace fixes Scanlon with an intense and steely gaze. Wallace's cross paths with Scanlon a few times throughout the years. He doesn't trust him. Still men like Scanlon can provide useful information, so Wallace is curious to know what Scanlon has to say about Wigan. The two men shake hands and take seats. So John, you said you wanted to talk about the story we killed, the tobacco whistleblower, right? Yeah, whistleblower is far too generous a term, believe me. Jeffrey Wigan is a total fraud. Fraud? Is that right? Yeah, that's right. Did you know this? Jeffrey Wigan is a wifebeer and a drunk. Now that's a good headline for your next 60 minutes piece. Wallace squintes his eyes and stares at Scanlon. And how do you know all this, John? It's my job to know things and to make sure other people know them too. People like you. That's very generous of you. I assume you can prove these allegations. Of course I can. But I mostly just wanted to tell you you did the right thing pulling the Wigan interview and you don't have to worry. Worry? Why should I worry about what? About getting sued. My sense is that Brown and Williamson understands the complexities here. But your team was misled by Wigan that you didn't comprehend all the nuances of the situation. You know what? The tobacco companies are actually quite forgiving, especially since you did the right thing in the end. Wallace can feel a fire burning deep inside him, but he's a veteran reporter and he knows how to maintain a poker face. Well that's good to know, John. Thank you. You're welcome. And while I'm here, did you have any questions? No. Not anymore. Wallace watches a Scanlan stride out of his office with a terrible grin on his face. Wallace exhales slowly. He knows exactly what he has to do. When he's confident that Scanlan is out of your shot, Wallace picks up the phone and dials one of the producers of 60 minutes. He doesn't mince words. Wallace says they're going to put Jeffrey Wigan on air. The producer tries to fight the order and reminds Wallace that they can't do that. But Wallace has made up his mind. He knows Bergen was right. They made a mistake and they were cowardly in the face of threats from Big Tobacco. Now they need to make up for it. Wallace says they're going to run the Wigan interview, even if it costs him his job. Next on American Scanlan, 60 minutes broadcasts a legendary interview, while Mike Moore leaves the nation's attorneys general in a climactic face off with the tobacco industry. I'm wondering, this is Episode 3 of Big Tobacco for American Scanlan. 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 the book to people versus Big Tobacco by Karrick Mollencamp, Adam Levy, Joseph Men, and Jeffrey Rothfetter. Also, the article, The Man Who New Too Much by Marie Brenner. American Scanlan is hosted, edited and executed produced by me Lindsey Graham for airship. Audio editing by Molly Bach, Sound Design by Derek Barons. This episode is written by Hannibal Diaz, edited by Christina Mallsberger, produced by Gay Riven, Executive Producers or Stephanie Jenz, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and her nonlopus for