Verdict expected Monday in historic Oklahoma opioid trial

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A judge is expected to rule Monday in Oklahoma’s case alleging consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson helped fuel the opioid crisis in the state.

A court spokesman says Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman is expected to read his decision in open court at 3 p.m. Monday.

The trial began on May 28 and lasted about six weeks, with closing arguments finishing last month.

It’s a crisis that officials say led to more than 6,000 deaths over nearly two decades.

Led by Attorney General Mike Hunter, Johnson & Johnson is accused of fueling the opioid crisis in the state of Oklahoma by oversupplying painkillers through deceptive marketing and downplaying the risks of addiction. The state estimates it will cost as much as $17 billion to abate the crisis.

The company has hammered the claim they marketed and promoted medicines responsibly following both federal law and regulations. Attorneys for the company say that opioid drugs serve a critical role in helping people deal with debilitating pain.

News 4 will livestream the decision.

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