andrew schneider investigates

May 5, 2009

So much for transparency. Judge in W.R. Grace case repeatedly said debate over the jury instructions will be public. But the public and the press were locked out.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew Schneider @ 18:53

Every two of three days for the last couple of weeks, Judge Donald Molloy volunteered that “in the spirit of full transparency” the debate over what will comprise the instructions to the jury will be done in open court before the public.

At one point last week Molloy talked about this trial (now into its tenth week) as the only one where he had people watching from the gallery.   At times, it was standing room only.  He said he wanted the discussions on what the jury will be told to be completely open so there could be no thought or discussion of behind-the=door chicanery.

But this afternoon, after telling the jury that he and the lawyers will be working late into the night agreeing on the instructions, he sent them home and ordered the lawyers into his chamber for a brief chat.

About 25 minutes later, all but the judge filed out. The lawyers, clutching envelopes, quickly left the courtroom for somewhere else in the building.

A court clerk came back to the gallery and told the few reporters waiting that everything else tonight was “off the record” and we should leave.

Molloy is correct. Transparency is needed and warranted. The public should know whether he was pressured to change the instructions and if so, by which party and what was the justification that swayed him.

A case can be won or lost depending on the instructions a judge gives a jury.

A judge can rule that this or that witness’s testimony isn’t to be considered, that this count in the indictment wasn’t proven or about anything else he wants. Complete sections of an indictment can be slashed.

Molloy knows this. He also knows that some are suspicious about his treatment of the prosecution, his rulings on behalf of Grace and its lawyers, and the knowledge that he has retained the right to toss out a guilty verdict and dismiss all charges after the jury makes it decision.

Why would he publicly promise openness and then slam the door?

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2 Comments »

  1. One important aspect not discussed in this trial is the far-reaching effects of the Grace operations to continue spreading Vermiculite. The 9/11 twin towers were coated throughout with vermiculite from Libby when they were built in the 1970’s. Thousands of New Yorkers were exposed to the residue from the collapses, especially the firefighters, police, and construction workers. The local, state, and federal governments refuse to provide healthcare for those exposed by the criminal actions/non-actions of the EPA. The Bush EPA declared the air safe in violation of every law and moral code. They, also, suspended OSHA rules for protection of workers in the cleanup. As a result, workers were working without any breathing protections.
    Grace Zonolite insulation from Libby in crushed form in fertilizers, sprayed in houses and buildings, and/or in bags were sold throughout North America. It may have, also, been exported. Yet, the federal government has never attempted to track or determine the depth of the pollution throughout this nation. As far as all governments to this point, Grace asbestos is a non-issue and the company continues to operate in other locations. The EPA and Executive Administrations have, totally, failed to protect the citizenry. People are dying from asbestos related disease who never smoked or knew they were being exposed in their own homes and workplaces. This travesty will continue to be thrown onto the ash-pile of history as the federal and state governments continue their coverups of the threat to health lurking in the attics and behind the walls of buildings throughout the nation.
    Anyone who wants to know more should start with the book, “Air That Kills”. From there you can find related information in New York City reports of the poisonous air resulting from the 9/11 tower collapses.

    Comment by dodson — May 6, 2009 @ 11:38 | Reply

  2. A paper bag full of money?

    Comment by Scott R. Hite — May 12, 2009 @ 17:18 | Reply


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