Another may soon join Va. AG race

John O'Brien Apr. 21, 2008, 4:28pm



ROANOKE, Va. - The man who led the criminal prosecution of prescription drug maker Purdue Pharma may attempt to become Virginia's next Attorney General.

U.S. Attorney John Brownlee submitted his resignation Thursday and told the Roanoke Times have received several messages urging him to run. Current Attorney General Bob McDonnell already has his sights set on the Governor's office.

Brownlee would run as a Republican. His case against Purdue Pharma resulted in the company pleading guilty to misrepresenting the addiction capabilities of its painkiller OxyContin.

The company and three of its top executives paid $634.5 million in fines last year. It has also paid a $27 million settlement to 20 state attorneys general, and a $10 million settlement to West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

Kentucky's case is pending, and the McGraw settlement has caused great debate in West Virginia.

Brownlee was one of several U.S. Attorneys named on President Bush's firing list and testified that he was told he was on it because he would not back off the prosecution of Purdue Pharma, the report says.

Virginia state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli has already announced his 2009 run at Attorney General. He is also a Republican.

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