'California's largest public utility provider could face murder or manslaughter charges if it were found responsible for causing the state's recent deadly wildfires, according to court documents filed by the state attorney general.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co., or PG&E, could potentially face a range of criminal offenses if any of the wildfires broke out as a result of the utility failing to properly operate and maintain power lines, per an amicus brief filed in US District Court Friday by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
PG&E, which provides electricity to about 16 million Californians, has been under scrutiny for how it maintains its infrastructure amid questions about what caused the Camp Fire -- the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history.
According to the brief, potential charges range from minor misdemeanors related to clearing vegetation around power lines, to misdemeanors or felonies if it started the fire, up to "homicide offenses like implied-malice murder and involuntary manslaughter."
The potential charges would be dependent on an investigation into the cause of the fire and -- if PG&E were found liable -- on the utility provider's degree of negligence and recklessness.
The attorney general's office has not come to a conclusion about PG&E's responsibility for the recent fires and is not taking a position on the issue, the brief states.
The brief was filed in response to a request by US District Court Judge William Alsup that officials explain what crimes PG&E might potentially have committed if it were ultimately found responsible for the wildfires.'
Read more: California's largest utility provider could face murder charges for wildfires, AG says
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