Att'y: 3 men scapegoated in toxic tower fire

Firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino died on August 18, 2007.

July 19, 2010 5:55:24 PM PDT
A defense lawyer says three construction officials are being unfairly blamed for a blaze that killed two New York City firefighters at a condemned ground zero skyscraper.

Edward Little told a judge Monday prosecutors are "scapegoating" small players for regulatory failures at the former Deutsche Bank building.

Firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino died of smoke inhalation in the August 2007 blaze. They had faced fire hazards including blocked stairwells and a key pipe that was cut and failed to supply fire hoses with water.

Prosecutors say Mitchel Alvo, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaola knew the standpipe had been cut but did nothing about it.

The men have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges.

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