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Ex-BP engineer convicted of destroying evidence in Deepwater Horizon spill

12.18.2013  | 

Prosecutors charged the engineer, Kurt Mix, with two counts of obstruction of justice, alleging he deleted from his mobile phone text messages and voice mails related to BP’s effort to estimate spill size.



A former BP senior engineer was found guilty of destroying evidence sought by the US in a probe of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico well explosion and oil spill.

The US accused the engineer, Kurt Mix, of deleting from his mobile phone text messages and voice mails related to BP’s effort to estimate the size of the spill. A federal jury in New Orleans today found him guilty of one of two counts of obstruction of justice.

Mix, who was involved in leading efforts to cap the Macondo well as oil gushed into the gulf, denied intentionally destroying evidence. Joan McPhee, one of his lawyers, today asked US District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. to throw out the guilty verdict. Duval deferred ruling on that motion. He released Mix on bond and set sentencing for March 26.

The blowout of BP’s Macondo well in deep water 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.

First defendant

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 BP said it was. He went on trial in federal court on Dec. 2. Jury deliberations began Dec. 16.

He was found guilty of deleting messages in October 2010 involving communications with his supervisor, Jonathan Sprague. He was found not guilty of deleting communications in August 2011 involving exchanges with Sprague and a contractor.

Mix’s lawyers contended there was no evidence that their client acted with corrupt intent in destroying messages on either occasion.

The case is US v. Mix, 12-cr-00171, US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

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To accuse any one it's not our target in technical problems but to have the real cause of the incident and to compensate the injured and families died persons that's the real target
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