JEFFERSON CITY - State officials said Thursday that a federal lawsuit against large tobacco companies will not pose a threat to Missouri's $6.7 billion tobacco settlement.
Scott Holste, spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon, said the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, will not affect the state settlement because it falls under a seperate jurisdiction.
"We wish the federal government would have been more proactive at the time that the states were doing the heavy lifting," he said.
Rep. Tim Harlan, D-Columbia, who serves on the Missouri Tobacco Settlement Committee, said he believes tobacco companies have always been aware of a possible federal lawsuit.
"It's too late now for the companies to back out of their settlements with the states," he said, adding that he expects Missouri to begin receiving the first part of their share of the settlement in six to nine months.