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Justice Department lawyers today deposed Jeffrey Wigand, the former tobacco company executive who told CBS' "60 Minutes" that his former employer, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, lied about the dangers of smoking. Fearing a lawsuit, CBS didn't air the interview. But Wigand, who has himself been sued by Brown and Williamson, is speaking with state and federal attorneys general about the company's decision to market products that it allegedly knew were carcinogenic. Neither Justice nor Wigand would comment about the talks today, but his testimony could devastate Brown and Williamson, which faces two Justice criminal investigations into whether its executives lied to Congress about the harmfulness and addictiveness of their products. "Wigand, the former head of Brown and Williamson's research unit, is apparently a top-notch scientist," says TIME's Michael Riley. "But more importantly, he's now the industry's highest-ranking defector. He knows the inside story, and he's going to tell it. That could spell real trouble for the tobacco industry, whose hard-nosed tactics with Congress and the press and in the courts have so far helped protect it."