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Legal News Roundup: December 2

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

DOJ Investigating Pardon Bribery Scheme

Reuters – The U.S. Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House in exchange for a presidential pardon.

Federal prosecutors in Washington said they had obtained evidence of a bribery scheme in which someone “would offer a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence.”

The order said prosecutors were also investigating a “secret lobbying scheme” in which two unidentified individuals “acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials, without complying with the registration requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.”

A Justice Department official said no government official is or was a target of the investigation.

Read the full story.

Court upholds FDA regulation of e-cigarettes as tobacco products

Bloomberg Law – A federal appeals court upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

The ruling rejected challenges from the e-cigarette industry that claim the agency had violated the Constitution.

Moose Jooce and several other e-cigarette makers and retailers, along with nonprofit group Tobacco Harm Reduction 4 Life, sued the agency over its 2016 rule “deeming” certain products to be “tobacco products” subject to the FDA’s authority.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporize a fluid that often contains the addictive substance nicotine.

Read the full story.

Ohio Bar Exam Results Announced

Court News Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court released results from the October 2020 Ohio Bar Examination. Of the 958 aspiring lawyers who sat for the exam, 741 – or 77.4% passed the exam. This is the highest pass rate since July 2013.

Among the first 810 first-time test takers, 85.3% received passing scores.

The midyear exam, typically held in late July, was pushed back to October due to COVID-19. This also was the first remote bar exam ever in the state of Ohio.

The successful applicants who meet all other admission requirements will be sworn in during a special session of the Supreme Court on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. using remote technology.

Read the full story.

Nestle and Cargill Involved in Child Labor Case

ABC News – The Supreme Court seemed concerned Tuesday about the impact of siding with food giants Nestle and Cargill and ending a lawsuit that claims they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labor.

The case before the justices has been going on for more than 15 years. It involves six adult citizens of Mali who say that, as children, they were taken from their country and forced to work on cocoa farms in neighboring Ivory Coast. They say they worked 12 to 14 hours a day, were given little food and were beaten if their work was seen as slow.

Both liberal and conservative justices asked questions that were skeptical of arguments made by the companies’ attorney.

Both Nestle and Cargill say they have taken steps to combat child slavery and have denied any wrongdoing.

Read the full story.