Bernick suggests EPA hiding information from jury
After the lunch break, defense attorney David Bernick spent another two hours cross-examining Dr. Aubrey Miller. Bernick appears to be attempting to undermine Dr. Miller’s opinion that the asbestos contamination in Libby poses an ongoing endangerment to the people in Libby.
Bernick’s cross-examination focused on several tacks. While Bernick largely did not challenge the data that Dr. Miller testified to on direct examination, Bernick suggested through his questioning that Miller’s opinion is based on incomplete information, that his opinion conflicts with the EPA’s representations to Libby residents, and that the EPA is hiding information from the jury.
At several points, Bernick questioned Dr. Miller about exhibits demonstrating exposure to asbestos that were used during Miller’s direct examination. Bernick highlighted that only one of the exhibits simulated human activity, namely the sweeping of the long shed at the former screening plant, while the others related to asbestos exposure levels of EPA workers who were conducting cleanup activities. The cleanup activities, Bernick noted, involved the use of bulldozers and other heavy equipment, and were disturbing soil in a way usual human activity does not. Miller agreed that the exhibits all dealt with exposures measured during cleanup work. In response to Bernick’s repeated questions about whose decision it was to present information about EPA cleanup worker exposure to the jury, Dr. Miller stated it was an EPA “team decision.”
Furthering his suggestion that the information was incomplete and that the EPA was hiding information, Bernick asked Dr. Miller a series of questions about how the government’s exhibits were prepared. Dr. Miller conceded that one of the government’s demonstrative exhibits left out a notation found in EPA documents that the screening plant long shed was “indoor air.” Dr. Miller agreed that there was a logical inference that could be drawn that the government had left “indoor air” off the exhibit because it conflicted with the government’s contention in this case that the screening shed is outside—and thus, “ambient air” for Clean Air Act purposes. Bernick also highlighted that several of the government documents left out other means of calculating asbestos exposure.
Bernick’s cross-examination of Dr. Miller will resume after the afternoon break.
– Andrew King-Ries