BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The manager of a southern Idaho cattle feedlot who was convicted for violating federal drinking water laws claims he deserves a new trial because prosecutors and the judge made mistakes before and during his trial.
A jury convicted Cory King in April of four counts of intentionally discharging fluids without a permit into the aquifer via four separate wells at Double C Farms near Burley in 2005. King was also convicted of one count for lying to a state agriculture inspector during an investigation of the feedlot.
He faces up to three years in prison for each of the Safe Drinking Water Act violations and thousands of dollars in fines. Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 2 in U.S. District Court in Pocatello.
Since the verdict, defense attorneys have insisted that King did nothing wrong, and was convicted for doing nothing more than diverting creek water into the wells.
In motions filed recently, King's lawyers ask U.S. Dist rict Judge B. Lynn Winmill to set aside the convictions. They argue that prosecutors engaged in the manipulation and prejudicial presentation of testimony for a witness and that Winmill erred in allowing testimony and evidence during the testimony of a separate witness.
They also claim King was denied a fair trial when witnesses referred to "waste" and "wastewater" - terms declared off limits by the judge - under questioning by government lawyers.
Prosecutors disagree and have asked the judge to deny the motions.
King was initially charged in a 2008 indictment with knowingly diverting wastewater into wells that can pump water from the aquifer. The indictment also accused King of installing backflow valves on the irrigation wells, which allowed water in above-ground pipes to flow backward and into the wells.
But a pretrial ruling by Winmill allowed the jury to only consider if "fluids" were illegally discharged at the feedlot. The defense argued that t h e judge also did not provide the jury with a specific definition of fluids.
King and his lawyers have led a public campaign attempting to clear his name by focusing on what they claim was a lack of government trial evidence showing the diversions contaminated the aquifer.
By TODD DVORAK, Associated Press Writer
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