Judge lets prosecutors stay on W.Va. chemical spill case
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A judge has ruled that federal prosecutors do not face conflicts of interest that warrant removing them from a chemical spill case.
In Charleston federal court Wednesday, Judge Thomas Johnston denied a motion by ex-Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell to have U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office recused. The two defendants contended that some prosecutors have conflicts because they were victims of the spill.
The January 2014 Freedom spill spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.
Johnston wrote that any harm suffered by members of the U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t undermine his confidence in the prosecution.
Southern and Farrell have pleaded not guilty to pollution charges. Southern also pleaded not guilty to fraud in Freedom’s bankruptcy case.
Both are slated for an October trial.