9th Circuit Denies Ban on Grace Witness Attendance

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A three-judge appellate panel Friday overturned a ruling by the judge in the W.R. Grace trial, who said 34 asbestos exposure victims on the federal prosecutors’ list of witnesses would not be allowed in court except to testify.

In his Feb. 13 pretrial ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the 34 witnesses, identified by the federal government as victims of asbestos contamination, do not meet the meaning of “crime victim” in the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. He excluded them from court proceedings.

Three appellate judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that general prohibition Friday and ordered Molloy to make “particularized findings with respect to each of the 34 victim-witnesses.”

The order came in response to a petition by federal prosecutors seeking to overturn Molloy’s ruling.

The trial resumes Monday.

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