By MARGARET CRONIN FISK and DANIEL LAWTON
A former BP engineer deliberately destroyed evidence sought
by the US for a probe of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico well
explosion and oil spill, a federal prosecutor said at the end
of a trial in New Orleans.
Prosecutors charged the engineer, Kurt Mix, with two counts
of obstruction of justice last year, alleging he deleted from
his mobile phone text messages and voice mails related to
BPs effort to estimate the size of the spill. Mix was a
senior engineer involved in leading efforts to cap the
Macondo well as crude gushed into the Gulf.
Kurt Mix knew exactly what was on that text message
string when he deleted it on Oct. 4 and 5 and intended to
obstruct this grand jury investigation, Leo Tsao, a
federal prosecutor, told the jury Monday. The defendant
acted with corrupt intent when he deleted text
The blowout of BPs deep-water Macondo well off the
coast of Louisiana in April 2010 killed 11 people and set off
the largest offshore oil spill in US history. BP agreed last
year to pay $4 billion to resolve the federal criminal probe
of its role in the spill.
The London-based company pleaded guilty to 14 criminal
counts, including 11 for felony manslaughter, one misdemeanor
under the Clean Water Act, one misdemeanor under the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act and one felony count of obstruction
of Congress for misrepresenting the size of the spill.
Mix, the first defendant in a criminal case over the spill to
face a jury, was accused of deleting multiple messages,
including one in which he said the spill was bigger than the
company said it was. Mix denies intentionally destroying
evidence and has pleaded not guilty.
The case is U.S. v. Mix, 12-cr-00171, U.S. District Court,
Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).