Subject: McLibel on CBS Evening News, July 22,1994

Date: July 22, 1994

This was the last and most strategically positioned segment on the Friday evening news show. The one people would be inclined to remember.

Well with the O.J. Simpson case heading for trial, there's been a lot of talk about money and the law, about using wealth to tip the scales of justice. The same issue is coming up in connection with a civil case in Great Britain. In London's royal court, a big American corporation is trying to throw the book at a couple of protesters who say they don't have the money to even afford a lawyer. CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley has our report.

SCOTT PELLEY, Reporting:
In the highest, hallowed halls of English justice, an American institution is on trial. It's called the "McLibel case", the $24 billion McDonalds restaurant chain is suing two unemployed vegetarian Britons who passed around a leaflet intended to blow the lid off Big Mac's empire.

MS. HELEN STEEL (Defendant):
They're threatening numerous groups in this country and individuals, to silence them because they're desperate not to let the truth about their practices be heard by the general public.

According to them, this is the truth, the pamphlet that incurred the wrath of McDonalds. Under headlines like "McMurder" and "McCancer" it claims that McDonalds is promoting a high-fat diet, tearing down rain forests for cattle ranches and polluting with its packaging. Now in the Royal High Court, McDonalds seeks to make hamburger of its accusers, producing dozens of witnesses and reams of files on everything from heart desease to the little paper wrappers on straws.

The leaflets and the allegations in the leaflets were gaining currency, people were believing them to be true.

If convicted, the veggie commandos face fines and court costs of more than $1 million. But still they refuse to be cowed. You don't expect to win do you?

MR. DAVE MORRIS (Defendant):
We believe we've won already. We're putting our view over to the public.

The Big Mac trial is expected to last months and it may be next year before the English high court decided whether McDonalds has a beef.

Scott Pelley, CBS News, London.