Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are Feds Hanging Ship Pilot to Cover Their Ass?

By Chris Thompson
Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 7:05 AM

That's what you have to wonder after reading about the latest federal felony charges against John Cota, the man who crashed his freighter into the Bay Bridge last year and poisoned thousands of birds with spilled oil. See if you can follow this timeline: After the crash, federal officials learned that Cota had told the Coast Guard he was taking sleep disorder depressions medications, which can leave the patient drowsy and less than alert. The feds start asking Coast Guard officials why they let his keep his license after this disclosure. Now, federal prosecutors have charged Cota with lying on his license renewal application about what medicines he was on. Cota's lawyer claims that Cota make a good faith effort to list all the drugs he was chowing down on, but that the Coast Guard never reviewed his file until weeks after the spill. Are the feds hanging Cota out to dry to save the Coast Guard a little embarrassment? After all, this is you-know-who's Justice Department we're talking about...

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