DENVER (AP) – The criminal trial over the deaths of five workers at a Colorado hydroelectric plant has reached the half-way point.
Federal prosecutors rested their case against Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy and a subsidiary on Thursday, allowing company lawyers to begin presenting their case Friday.
The Denver Post reported that’s expected to take a couple of days.
Xcel and Public Service Company of Colorado face five counts of violating federal safety regulations. Five workers from California died as a result of smoke inhalation when a fire trapped them inside a tunnel.
Prosecutors said Xcel knew of workplace safety violations. A defense attorney said a contractor violated the regulations and the deaths were an accident.
If convicted, each company would have to pay fines up to $2.5 million and be subject to strict post-conviction supervision.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)