Attorneys debate evidence in Bates/OEPA trial

SEBRING — Attorneys for the state and former Sebring water operator James Bates had a lengthy discussion in court this morning about whether conversations Bates had with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials should be part of Bates' trial.

Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove presided over the hearing in Mahoning County Sebring Area Court after being assigned to replace Judge Diane Vettori, who was recently indicted.

Bates, of Salem, is charged with three unclassified misdemeanors that could each produce up to four years in prison for allegedly failing to properly notify Sebring water customers of high lead levels in the water during the late 2016-early 2016 Sebring water crisis.

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