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Judge refuses to move ship pilot's trial

Sept. 23, 2008 at 10:59 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge says the pilot of the Cosco Busan is to be tried in San Francisco for the container ship's oil spill on the bay in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston Monday rejected John Cota's request to move his criminal trial from the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Cota, whose lawyers argued he could not get a fair trial in the Bay Area, was piloting the Cosco Busan Nov. 7 in heavy fog when it rammed one of the Bay Bridge towers.

Cota and Fleet Management Ltd., which operated the Cosco Busan,

face eight criminal charges for the spill of more than 50,000 gallons of oil and the death of an estimated 2,000 birds, the Chronicle reported.

Illston has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 6 to pick a trial date, the Chronicle reported.

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