Sorrell faces little resistance in victory

John O'Brien Nov. 4, 2008, 11:00pm

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - President Bush won't have to worry about being tried for murder in Vermont.

That's because William Sorrell won his sixth term as Vermont's attorney general Tuesday, defeating Progressive Party member Charlotte Dennett, a former investigative journalist who promised action against Bush.

Dennett said she would appoint Vincent Bugliosi, the author of "The Prosecution of George Bush," as a special prosecutor to consider charges that Bush sent troops into Iraq under false pretenses.

Sorrell had collected 72 percent of votes with 50 percent of precincts tallied, The Times Argus reported. It also said Sorrell finished his victory speech by saying he is looking forward to "working with the White House on environmental protection instead of suing them."

Republican Karen Kerin earned 20 percent of the vote.

Tuesday's result confirmed that Sorrell is wildly popular in the state. He grabbed nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2006 when he won his fifth term. The attorney general's position carries only a two-year term in the state.

Sorrell is not without his critics, though, because of his aggressive consumer protection stance. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free enterprise think tank, included him in its 2007 list of the 10 worst attorneys general in recent history.

Sorrell ranked seventh, mostly for having his state's legislature "change the law to make tobacco companies retroactively liable for the state's Medicaid bills, irrespective of their individual guilt or innocence of fraud toward smokers."

Tobacco companies settled claims that their products harmed states' Medicaid programs in 1998 for nearly $250 billion. Forty-six states and six territories participated in the Master Settlement Agreement.

Sorrell was also among a group of attorneys general that recently filed an amicus brief with the Rhode Island Supreme Court that argued they had the authority to file controversial public nuisance suits against the former manufacturers of lead paint.

Sorrell is also usually very active against pharmaceutical companies, including the key Wyeth v. Levine case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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