As most of you know, in September of 2010, an explosion rocked San Bruno, killing eight people, injuring 58 more, and destroying 38 homes in the process. On August 9, 2016, a jury found Pacific Gas & Electric guilty of six criminal charges relating to the blast, and ordered the company to pay $3 million in fines. Now, less than two weeks after the verdict was rendered, the Chronicle reports that PG&E wants a judge to throw it all out.
Lawyers for the company claim that prosecutors didn't show “anyone at PG&E had any evil intent or subjective belief that they were violating a clear legal duty.” And although the jury of eight men and four women who rendered six guilty verdicts against the company must have been shown something by the prosecutors, PG&E still thinks the convictions should be tossed.
PG&E, need we remind you, is the same company that put safety literally last on its literal list of priorities. And this is the same company that in June was fined $24.3 million for poor pipeline record keeping in cities across California. And it is the same company that issued a statement earlier this month promising its employees are "committed to re-earning” the public’s trust.
“While we are very much focused on the future, we will never forget the lessons of the past,” the statement reads.
PG&E was indeed acquitted on six charges of "knowingly failing to keep accurate records," the Chronicle reports, but was found guilty of five felony charges of "failing to gather information on past pipeline leaks, assess ongoing dangers and give priority to hazardous pipe segments," and on a sixth charge of obstructing a federal investigation into the 2010 blast.
That the company is seeking to have its remaining convictions thrown out will appear particularly galling to some, especially considering the fact that potential fines faced by PG&E dropped from $562 million to $6 million the week prior to the verdict being reached.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson had originally scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 23. He will now first hold an October 11 hearing to considering PG&E's request.
"PG&E is a company that was found guilty, as a result of its culture, its behavior and its actions," state Senator Jerry Hill, who represents San Bruno, told the East Bay Times. "They obviously have not learned their lesson."
Previously: PG&E Trial Closes With Prosecutor Saying The Utility Had 'Lost Its Way'
PG&E Put Safety Literally Last On Its List Of Priorities, Documents Show
PG&E Fined Only $3 Million In San Bruno Criminal Case, Convicted On 6 of 12 Charges