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by Western News
| May 8, 2009 12:00 AM

A jury returned not guilty verdits on all counts Friday morning in the federal environmental case against W.R. Grace & Co. and three executives.

Grace and executives Jack Wolter, Henry Eschenbach and Robert Bettacchi were indicted on charges that they knowingly endangered the lives of Libby residents and employees at its vermiculite mine.

Speaking from the bench in a packed courtroom, Judge Donald Molloy said, “There should be no reactions to whatever the verdicts are.”

After taking time to see that forms had been properly dated and signed, Molloy handed the verdicts over to the clerk and the not guilty counts were announced.

Molloy thanked the jurors for their three months of service, indicating that it was the longest trial that he had ever been involved in.

“This is a case in which very few people know all of the evidence, and you do,” he told the jurors.

After court recessed, the prosecution filed out of the courtroom while members of the defense exchanged hugs and handshakes.