WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Maryland has acquitted a former lawyer for GlaxoSmithKline who was charged by federal prosecutors with obstructing justice and making false claims about the company's marketing efforts.
Judge Roger Titus of the U.S. District Court for Maryland threw out the case against Lauren Stevens on Monday before it went to the jury. Direct verdicts that exclude jurors are rare.
The ruling is a setback for the Department of Justice. It had accused Stevens of providing false information to the Food and Drug Administration about whether GlaxoSmithKline promoted its antidepressant Wellbutrin for unapproved uses.
The case marked the first time federal prosecutors had targeted an individual pharmaceutical executive for wrongdoing instead of an entire company.
Stevens served as vice president for legal affairs in GlaxoSmithKline's North Carolina offices.