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Closing Arguments Thursday In Xcel Trial In Denver

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DENVER (AP) – The criminal trial of Xcel Energy over the deaths of five workers at a Colorado hydroelectric plant is winding down.

Attorneys were arguing over jury instructions Tuesday in federal court in Denver. Closing arguments had also been expected but have now been scheduled Thursday because that process is taking so long.

Minneapolis-based Xcel and a Colorado subsidiary 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 in October 2007 near Georgetown, about 40 miles west of Denver.

Prosecutors say Xcel knew of workplace safety violations. The defense says 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.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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