CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire is appealing a trial court order that would place most of the state’s record $236 million verdict against Exxon Mobil in a groundwater contamination case into a trust fund.

Exxon successfully argued for the trust saying the set-aside would ensure the money is available for its intended purpose and not diverted to such state expenses as legal fees for private attorneys hired to litigate the case.

Asked Thursday about the appeal, Senior Assistant Attorney General Allen Brooks said the jury verdict in April came with no restrictions and the money was intended for the state to use for the benefit of its residents. The award is by far the largest in New Hampshire history.

Brooks acknowledged the state wants to use some of the money to pay private counsel hired in the case.

A Merrimack Superior Court jury held Exxon Mobil liable for the state’s costs to test groundwater in private wells and other drinking water sources over the coming decades and to remove contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE.

Since then, Superior Court Judge Peter Fauver denied Exxon’s motion to set aside the verdict but granted the company’s request to establish a trust fund and ordered that $195 million of the total be set aside.

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