Change-of-plea hearing for ex-BP engineer in Gulf oil spill case

Published: Friday 6th November 2015 by The News Editor

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A former BP engineer is having a change-of-plea hearing in New Orleans, where he has been fighting a charge that he obstructed an investigation into the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Kurt Mix was indicted in early 2012 on two criminal counts arising from allegations that he deleted text messages about the amount of oil that spewed into the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers. He has been in an up-and-down legal battle ever since.

He was acquitted on one criminal charge in a 2013 trial and convicted on an obstruction of justice charge at the same hearing.

But he won a new trial because the jury forewoman told deadlocked colleagues that she had heard something that increased her confidence in voting guilty.

Mix again pleaded not guilty and a November 30 trial date had been set. But court records show that a change-of-plea hearing is set today, indicating some type of resolution of the case is near. His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mix’s defence team has long said there is ample evidence he shared information about the flow rate at the well site throughout the government investigation.

They also said prosecutors failed to prove Mix knew the information he deleted would be pertinent to a grand jury investigation – an investigation they said he did not know about and that had not yet even begun.

Mix had been part of a team of experts who worked on an unsuccessful attempt to stop the deep sea gusher using a technique called a “top kill”. Prosecutors said he broke the law in October 2010, months after the 87-day spew was stopped, when he deleted a string of text messages to and from his supervisor.

Published: Friday 6th November 2015 by The News Editor

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