Associated Press Published

Conflict of Interest Arguments Heard in Freedom Case

A judge has heard arguments over recusing prosecutors from a case charging former executives in a chemical spill.

In Charleston federal court Monday, ex-Freedom Industries executives Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell claimed U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office and family members were victims of the company’s spill and have conflicts of interest. Last January’s spill left 300,000 residents without tap water for days.

Prosecutors say a recusal would be against public interest and fly in the face of the law.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston gave parties until Jan. 30 to file documents about possible related subpoenas.

Southern, Farrell, the company and four other officials face pollution charges. Southern also faces fraud charges related to Freedom’s bankruptcy case.

Johnston declined to delay several initial appearances and arraignments set for Thursday and Monday.