Judge Won't Toss Charges In SF Bay Oil Spill Case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge has refused to throw out the charges against the pilot who was at the helm last November when a container ship sideswiped a bridge tower in San Francisco Bay.

Capt. John Cota has been charged with two misdemeanor environmental crimes stemming from the incident, and two felony
charges of lying to the U.S. Coast Guard about his medical record.
Cota has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on Friday rejected Cota's request that she throw out the charges.

But Illston did agree to split the environmental and false-statements charges - setting up the likelihood of two separate trials for Cota.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-07-18-08 1616EDT

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