Johnson and Johnson Opioid Trial Witness Arrested on Corruption Charges

The final witness testifying for Johnson & Johnson in the landmark state trial last summer in which the state of Oklahoma blamed the company for overdose deaths and economic damages caused by its highly addictive opioid drugs, was arrested last week in a federal indictment of money laundering from a Venezuelan bribery and corruption scheme.

Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami international studies professor, allegedly accepted $3 million into his own bank accounts and laundered it into the accounts of a co-conspirator “to conceal the nature, source and ownership of the funds,” while pocketing about 10%. Bagley was allegedly aware that the funds he was laundering on behalf of a Columbian individual were “stolen from the Venezuelan people.”

Bagley allegedly began the scheme in November 2017. It ended April 2019, in the aftermath of investigators’ sting operation, as Bagley was preparing his testimony for Johnson & Johnson’s opioid trial. During the trial he testified that Mexican and Colombian cartels were responsible for Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic, and not drug companies.

The trial wrapped up in August, and Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay Oklahoma $572 million for intentionally downplaying the dangers of its opioids.

A federal grand jury in New York City returned the indictment in October with two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy.

Bagley, an expert witness and co-author of the book, “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Violence in the Americas Today,” has consulted for the FBI, CIA, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies.

“About the only lesson to be learned from Professor Bagley today is that involving oneself in public corruption, bribery and embezzlement schemes is going to lead to an indictment,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said following Bagley’s arrest.

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