It’s a high pressure week for the attorneys in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Montana declined to share professional information with us about prosecutors Kris McLean or Zeno Baucus. So we did research online and in the federal court records system.
US Attorney Kris McLean
We found Kris McLean was the lead government attorney in the largest environmental criminal case in U.S. history.
He tried to prove W.R. Grace and three of its top executives know knowingly exposed Libby residents to asbestos, then conspired to cover it up. W.R. Grace ran a vermiculite mine near Libby for nearly 30 years. The jury acquitted the defendants. Mclean has roughly 27 years of legal experience and was admitted to the Montana Bar in 1985.
US Attorney Zeno Baucus
The other prosecutor, Zeno Baucus, is the son of U.S. Senator Max Baucus. He’s been an attorney since 2005. Our research indicates he worked for a Washington, D.C. law firm that told clients he specialized in “civil litigation, anti-trust matters and corporate” or white-collar crime. We dug through federal court cases and found Baucus has limited criminal experience -- fewer than 20 federal criminal cases that we can find, and none as high profile as the Graham murder case.
Both of Graham’s attorneys are with the Federal Defenders office.
Defense Attorney Michael Donahoe
One, Michael Donahoe, has a lot of experience with high profile cases. He defended Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. In 2008, he was awarded the Montana Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year award. He also represented Terry Langford, a North Carolina drifter who was executed in 1998 for murdering a Montana ranch couple.
Defense Attorney Andrew Nelson
Andrew Nelson is the lead defense attorney. He’s been with the US Federal Defenders office since 2009. Before that, he was an associate with a Missoula law firm. We checked federal court records and found he’s been assigned to more than 200 criminal cases. He graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 2000.
Judge Donald Malloy
Judge Donald Molloy is presiding over the trial. President Bill Clinton nominated Molloy to the bench in 1995. Since then, he’s made several high profile, controversial decisions. On the list: a 2010 decision that led to wolves in Idaho and Montana being removed from the Endangered Species list. Molloy is well acquainted with lead U.S. Attorney Kris Mclean. Mclean was the prosecutor in the criminal case against former executives of mining company W.R. Grace. The government accused them of conspiring to hide health risks for people in Libby caused by asbestos tainted vermiculite. Molloy presided over the trial but was criticized for many of his decisions that opponents believed led the jury to return a not guilty verdict.