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BOSTON — An epoxy distributor indicted for manslaughter on Wednesday for a death linked to a 2006 ceiling tunnel collapse in Boston announced plans to try to disqualify Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for conflict of interest. The Brewster, N.Y.-based Powers Fasteners Inc. said in a statement that it plans to move to dismiss the indictment, disqualify Coakley and request an independent prosecutor. Powers said Coakley’s conflict of interest stems from her exploration of criminal charges against contractors who worked on Boston’s Central Artery or so-called “Big Dig” project while pursuing a civil case against Big Dig contractors for project cost overruns. Attorney Max Stern of Boston-based Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin said that under Massachusetts law, citizens subject to a criminal investigation have a right to a “disinterested prosecutor,” and that a prosecutor who represents a client seeking compensation for an alleged crime is barred from being a public prosecutor in the criminal case. “This is precisely what has happened here and what has led the attorney general to scapegoat a blameless party,” Stern said. The criminal charges stemmed from a multi-agency investigation led by the Attorney General’s office into the July 2006 death of 38-year-old Milena Del Valle, when a ceiling panel collapsed in a Big Dig tunnel. Powers spokeswoman Karen Schwartzman said the company plans to file the motions after Powers’ arraignment, which is currently scheduled for Sept. 5. Coakley said Powers’ allegation of a conflict of interest “totally without merit.” “Powers Fasteners has responded to the grand jury indictment the same way that it responded to the National Transportation Safety Board’s comprehensive and compelling report,” Coakley said. “Powers denied any responsibility or culpability for the tunnel collapse, and attacked the investigators.” Coakley noted that the company failed to inform project managers and engineers about the suitability of a particular epoxy product for sustained Loads.

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