A Virginia lawyer heavily involved in Roundup litigation has been charged with attempted extortion for “threatening to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm” on an unnamed chemical company unless he received $200 million in “consulting fees,” the Justice Department says.

Litzenburg, a Charlottesville lawyer, was on the trial team for the first big Roundup injury case, which resulted in a $289 million verdict for school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who has alleged Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The verdict was reduced to $78 million and is on appeal.

In November, Litzenburg met with attorneys for “Company 1” and “allegedly threatened that he and his law associates would be Company 1’s ‘biggest problem’ unless they received the $200 million payment, and that the public disclosure of the purportedly damaging information about Company 1 would cause a ‘40 percent stock loss,’ and ‘public relations nightmare’ for Company 1’s publicly traded parent company,” DOJ said.

Litzenburg, who also is facing charges of transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort and conspiracy, was released on bail Tuesday morning. 

Interested in more  coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse or Agri-Pulse West by clicking here. 

"In exchange for the $200 million, Litzenburg allegedly indicated that he would not tell any existing or future clients about Company 1 or its purported role in manufacturing the product,” the Justice Department said. “Litzenburg also allegedly made clear that the $200 million would not be a settlement for any clients, but rather would be a payment for Litzenburg and his associates.”

In addition, Litzenburg told a company attorney in an October email that the company could avoid his filing of further litigation against the company if he were paid $200 million. Litzenburg also said on a phone call with a company attorney he could botch a deposition with company toxicology experts by asking “the wrong questions.”

For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com