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 - Lewis found guilty of Tylenol extortion By...
Lewis found guilty of Tylenol extortion By Douglas Frantz JAMES LEWIS WAS convicted Thursday night of attempting to extort extort $1 million from the makers of Tylenol after seven people died in the Chicago area last year from taking capsules of the pain reliever laced with cyanide. The guilty verdict was returned by a U.S. District Court jury after 214 hours of deliberation following a week of testimony and arguments by attorneys. Lewis, 37, fought back tears as he sat at the defense table after the verdict was read by Chief U.S. District District Court Judge Frank J. McGarr. Lewis' wife, LeAnn, sat a few feet away. U.S. Atty. Dan K. Webb, who led the three-member three-member three-member prosecution team, said the verdict vindicated" the government's theory that Lewis had itended to commit a crime when he - mailed the four-paragraph four-paragraph four-paragraph extortion letter to Johnson & Johnson Co. in October, 1S82. "I'M OBVIOUSLY very pleased with the verdict," Webb said. "It was a quick verdict." In finding Lewis guilty of attempted attempted extortion, the jury rejected a gamble taken by his attorney, Michael Michael Monico, who started the trial on Oct. 19 by admitting that Lewis wrote the letter to Johnson & Johnson. Lewis, who is serving a 10-year 10-year 10-year sentence for an unrelated mail fraud conviction, faces up to 20 years in prison. Judge McGarr, who presided over the trial, did not set a date for sentencing. Webb said he will ask for a stiff sentence. The trial began Oct. 19 with Monico stunning the courtroom by acknowledging that Lewis was the author of the letter. But, he said, his client never intended to extort the money from Johnson & Johnson. James Lewis MONICO DEVOTED his entire case to spinning out a theory in which Lewis was seeking revenge against his wife's former boss, Frederick Frederick M. McCahey, for giving her a paycheck that bounced and for threatening her. But Webb and his fellow prosecutors, prosecutors, assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy Margolis and Cynthia Giac-chetti, Giac-chetti, Giac-chetti, contended that Lewis had Continued on page 2, col. 1

Clipped from Chicago Tribune, 28 Oct 1983, Fri,  Page 1

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Chicago Tribune
(Chicago, Illinois)
28 Oct 1983, Fri  • Page 1