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2 Seek Bench Trial In Fatal Deutsche Bank Fire

Smoke rises from the Deutsche Bank Building bordering Ground Zero (credit: AP Photo/Verena Dobnik)

Smoke rises from the Deutsche Bank Building bordering Ground Zero (credit: AP Photo/Verena Dobnik)

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – An asbestos-cleanup director and his employer want to forgo a jury for their upcoming manslaughter trial in a blaze that killed two New York firefighters at a condemned ground zero skyscraper.

WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reports on two defendants facing manslaughter charges for a Deutsche Bank Fire that killed firefighters


Lawyers for Mitchel Alvo and John Galt Corp. said Monday they want a judge to decide their fate over the August 2007 fire at the former Deutsche Bank building. The judge said she would review the request but noted that state law gives her limited discretion to refuse it.

beddia graffigno 2 Seek Bench Trial In Fatal Deutsche Bank Fire

Robert Beddia, Joseph Graffagnino (File)

Jurors would simultaneously consider charges against two other defendants, Salvatore DePaola and Jeffrey Melofchik. Jury selection is set to start March 21.

 

Prosecutors say the defendants failed to fix and covered up a break in a vital firefighting water pipe. The only pipe that could have carried water to the fire on the 17th floor. The defendants say they’re being scapegoated for regulators’ oversights.

The fire was started by a carelessly dropped cigarette.