Virginia Attorneys Plead Guilty in RoundUp Extortion Scheme

Two Virginia attorneys pled guilty last week for a scheme to extort Monsanto out of $200 million last year. Timothy Litzenburg and Daniel Kincheloe each pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort. The U.S. Department of Justice says the two admitted they approached Monsanto and threatened to make public statements alleging the company had significant civil liability for manufacturing a purportedly harmful chemical used in RoundUp. They proposed reaching a “consulting agreement” with the company for $200 million, which would bar the attorneys from representing their clients as plaintiffs in litigation against Monsanto, which is now Bayer Crop Science. The fees were proposed to help their clients. However, the pair planned to split the funds among themselves and their associates. The attorneys threatened that if Monsanto did not accept their consulting plan, “they and others would commence litigation that would become an ongoing exponentially growing problem” for the company, according to the Justice Department. The pair will be sentenced in September.