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Prosecution Winds Down Case in W.R. Grace Trial

The prosecution in the W.R. Grace & Company asbestos trial called their final witness this week, as the trial neared the end of its first phase.

Former assistant surgeon general Dr. Richard Lemen, testifying on behalf of the prosecution, told jurors that the vermiculite asbestos mined by W.R. Grace created immediate and several health risks for the residents of nearby Libby, Montana. Lemen criticized the widespread usage of asbestos-contaminated material throughout the city of Libby, blaming it for the epidemic of mesothelioma and other diseases among residents. To date, hundreds of Libby residents have died from asbestos-related illnesses, and thousands more continue to struggle with the long-term effects of asbestos exposure.

Five former executives of W.R. Grace are on trial for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act and criminally exposing the residents of Libby to toxic asbestos dust and fibers. If convicted, the five men could face millions of dollars in fines and up to 15 years incarceration.

The defense is expected to call its first witness on Tuesday, April 28.

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