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Criminal Prosecution for Imperial Sugar Execs?

The Augusta Chronicle reports that executives of the Imperial Sugar Company could face criminal prosecution for their role in an explosion at the plant that killed fourteen workers and injured dozens. The article points out that while the company expresses confidence that they can prevail in over 40 civil lawsuits filed against them following the explosion, this success could come at a high price–it could prompt federal OSHA to refer the case to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
Even the Bush administration-era OSHA indicated that this was a possibility:  
We do have willful violations that are related to fatalities,” Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator, said at the time. That, she added, is the threshold for asking the Justice Department to consider prosecution.

The Obama OSHA leadership, under Acting Director Jordan Barab, has indicated a greater interest in pursuing criminal prosecutions. As the Chronicle points out, evading civil liability may turn out to be at best a mixed blessing for Imperial Sugar executives, who could face the prospect of time behind bars. See the full story here.