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      Three former Cornell frat pledges acquitted in George Desdunes' death

      A Tompkins County judge ruled it was alcohol poisoning, not hazing, that caused the death of a Cornell University student.

      Three former pledges of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house were acquitted of charges stemming from the alcohol-related fraternity death of George Desdunes, 19, in February, 2011.

      Desdunes was found unconscious on a couch at the fraternity, and was later pronounced dead.

      The men -- Max Haskin, Benn Mann, and Edward Williams -- faced charges for hazing and unlawfully dealing with a child.

      In a 4-day bench trial in May, prosecutors argued the trio should have called for help before it was too late. Meanwhile, the defense argued Desdunes voluntarily participated in the evening's events, knowing he had pneumonia.

      His mother filed a mul t i-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the fraternity, which is no longer recognized at Cornell University.