California prosecutors: PG&E could face manslaughter charges — in theory


California prosecutors: PG&E could face manslaughter charges — in theory

Manslaughter and murder are among the crimes Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could have committed under California law if its reckless operation of power lines is found to have sparked any recent deadly wildfire, according to the state’s top prosecutor.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his deputies described to a federal judge Friday a range of possible consequences PG&E could face at the state level, depending on the utility’s “mental state,” if it is deemed responsible for wildfires that have ravaged the state.
The potential crimes vary widely, from minor offenses related to vegetation and power lines to felonies or misdemeanors about causing fires or even implied-malice murder and involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors said.
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Becerra’s office laid out the possibilities in a brief to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is considering how the wildfires could affect PG&E’s probation from a criminal case born out of the aftermath to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.

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