Ocean polluters seek to have convictions overturned

A father and son team that was convicted of polluting Puget Sound and the ocean had a change of heart. Instead of being sentenced, they're asking a federal judge in Seattle to do something else. The pair say they want a chance to prove they're not guilty

A father-son team that was convicted of polluting Puget Sound and the ocean have asked a judge to toss their convictions.

In Seattle federal court on Friday, Bingham Fox asked the judge to throw out his conviction for violating the Clean Water Act.  His attorney accused the government of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

“Their star witness has been arrested 25 times,” Fox told KING 5 after his hearing.  “And he lied because he was mad at me because I refused to pay him cash."

Fox and his son Randall Fox were convicted of pumping oily bilge water from their 80 fishing vessel “Native Sun.”

A deckhand provided the US Coast Guard with a video showing a makeshift pump that pumped engine oil overboard while the vessel was in Blaine harbor.

Federal law requires commercial vessels to filter out engine oil and dispose of it properly on shore, which costs time and money.

Bingham Fox was convicted by a jury after a five-day trial in March.

Judge Robert Lasnik determined Friday that there was no prosecutorial misconduct and denied Fox’s motion for a new trial.

Fox faces five years in prison when he’s sentenced.

Fox’s son, Randall, pleaded guilty to the crime in March.

In a separate hearing Friday, he asked Judge Lasnik to withdraw that plea and set his case for trial.

The judge agreed to that request.

“We make our living off the sea.  We’re not gonna pollute it,” Randall Fox said after the hearing.

Federal investigators said the Fox’s knowingly polluted Puget Sound, including using absorbent pads and detergent to hide the oily water sheen that would have been evidence of their crime.

© 2017 KING-TV


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