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Ashcroft’s Law Firm Scores A Big One

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's law firm could earn $52.2 million helping the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey monitor the leading manufacturers of hip and knee replacements.

The manufacturers agreed in September to pay $311 million and hire monitors to settle claims that they paid surgeons to use and promote their products.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie hand-picked five firms, including Ashcroft's, to watch the manufacturers. Christie worked under Ashcroft until Ashcroft resigned in 2005.

The arraignment, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, was released Tuesday. It calls for Zimmer Holdings of Indiana to pay Ashcroft Group Consulting Services, of Washington, D.C., from $1.5 million to $2.9 million a month, including a flat payment of $750,000 to the group's senior leadership group, legal and consulting services at up to $895 an hour and up to $250,000 in monthly expenses.

The agreements were made by Zimmer, Bionet Orthopedics Inc., DePuy Orthopedics Inc., Smith & Nephew Inc. and Stryker Corp., which control 95 percent of the hip replacement market.

Zimmer will pay $169.5 million, Bionet $26.9 million, DePuy $84.7 million and Smith & Nephew $28.9 million. Stryker will not pay any money.

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