A federal prosecutor will testify earlier than members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday that U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered “politically motivated” evaluations of 10 marijuana enterprise mergers.
The anticipated testimony to the House Judiciary Committee will come from John Elias, the appearing chief of employees for the assistant legal professional normal and half of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.
The testimony is an element of the committee’s investigation into Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump.
According to a prepared version of Elias’ opening remarks, he’ll testify that the 10 investigations weren’t “bona fide” however, relatively, pushed by Barr’s private dislike of the marijuana business.
The investigations in sum totaled 29% of the antitrust division’s “full-review merger investigations” within the 2019 fiscal 12 months, Elias alleges.
Elias wrote in his assertion that one of his superiors stated in September 2019 that “the investigations have been motivated by the truth that the cannabis business is unpopular ‘on the fifth floor,’ a reference to the situation of Barr’s workplace at DOJ headquarters.
“Personal dislike of the industry is not a proper basis upon which to ground an antitrust investigation,” Elias wrote.
At least one of the investigations, a probe right into a deliberate merger between MedMen and PharmaCann, led to the collapse of the deal in late 2019 as a result of of regulatory delays.
Elias’ assertion blames Barr for these delays and alleges the DOJ employees initially concluded that the deal was “unlikely to raise any significant competitive concerns.”
Nevertheless, Barr ordered an additional investigation.
“The rationale for doing so centered not on an antitrust analysis, but because he did not like the underlying nature of their business,” Elias wrote in his assertion.
The MedMen-PharmaCann merger investigation concluded within the fall of 2019 with no enforcement motion taken, Elias wrote, however “the merger collapsed nonetheless, with MedMen citing unexpected delays in obtaining regulatory approval.”
In the interim, Elias famous, MedMen’s inventory worth dropped by a few third.
The different 9 investigations weren’t recognized in Elias’ assertion.