Prosecutor Misdeeds Argued In Grace Acquittal


In what was billed as the largest, most complex criminal environmental prosecution ever, a federal jury acquitted W.R. Grace & Co. and three of its executives on all criminal charges that they had contaminated the small Montana mining town of Libby with asbestos, then conspired to cover up the act. Defense lawyers argued that that prosecutors withheld e-mails between a government witness, former Grace executive Robert Locke and an Environmental Protection Agency official, and granted Locke what amounted to an under-the-table promise of immunity for his testimony, reports The American Lawyer.

Judge Donald Molloy said prosecutors were guilty of “inexcusable dereliction of duty.” Defense attorney David Bernick told The American Lawyer that teh Justice Department “consistently presented narrow and misleading evidence and hadn’t told the full truth.” Bernick says the case should have been dismissed “The prosecutorial misconduct was a [reflection] of a case that was rotten.” The Justice Department didn’t issue an immediate comment.

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