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PG&E found guilty of obstructing investigators

(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

A federal jury has found California's largest utility guilty of obstructing investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines after a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The jury returned its verdict Tuesday against Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The blast of the natural gas pipeline six years ago killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

During the investigation that followed, prosecutors say, the San Francisco-based utility misled federal officials about the standard it was using to identify high-risk pipelines.

PG&E said its employees did the best they could with ambiguous regulations they struggled to understand.

The stakes in the case fell dramatically when prosecutors recently decided not to pursue a potential $562 million penalty if the company was found guilty.

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