Prosecutors seek 10 mo. for John Cota

(07-13) 17:00 PDT SAN FRANCISCO – The pilot of the container ship that struck the Bay Bridge in November 2007 ignored basic safety precautions, lied to licensing authorities about his prescription drug use and should be sentenced to 10 months in prison, the maximum recommended by his plea agreement, federal prosecutors have told a judge.

Capt. John Cota’s lawyers asked for a two-month sentence, the minimum term in the plea agreement, and argued that prosecutors were making the 61-year-old pilot a scapegoat in “an accident with many causes.”

Their papers were filed Friday with U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who is scheduled to sentence Cota this Friday. A court probation officer has recommended a $30,000 fine, which Cota’s lawyers accepted, and a three-month sentence.

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