W.R. Grace Defense Wants Case Thrown Out

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Defense attorneys attacked a government witness Friday and argued that prosecutors may be guilty of misconduct in the W.R. Grace environmental crimes trial.

The arguments came in a special hearing called by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy into whether government witness Robert Locke committed perjury. No jurors were present for Friday’s hearing.

Columbia, Md.-based Grace and five former executives are charged with knowingly exposing Libby’s residents to asbestos, a substance linked to cancer.

The defense told Molloy that the case should be thrown out, in part because of the relationship between prosecutors and former Grace employee Locke. Defense attorney David Bernick said Locke deceived the jury with misleading testimony with the help of the government.

Assisstant U.S. Attorney Tim Craven asked Molloy to put Locke back on the stand and let the jury decide.

Molloy made no decision.

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