BP engineer in Macondo plea deal

09 November 2015, News Wires – A former BP engineer has pleaded guilty to charges related to deleting text messages about the amount of oil spilled in the 2010 Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

bp bigKurt Mix, who has been accused of obstruction of justice, pled to a lesser count of intentionally causing damage without authorisation to a protected computer, according to the Associated Press.

He will avoid prison time and was sentenced to six months of probation, the AP said.

Mix’s lawyers at law firm Ropes & Gray confirmed the result in a statement later on Friday.

“This is a case that never should have been brought, against a man whose tireless efforts in the Deepwater Horizon spill should have been acknowledged and appreciated, not prosecuted,” said attorney Joan McPhee.

Mix, a drilling and completions engineer, was charged with deleting text messages in the aftermath of the Macondo spill, thus obscuring what BP knew about the amount of oil spewing into the sea. The spill volume was vital in determining what fines BP would ultimately pay. Mix was on the BP team trying to stanch the subsea leak.

He was initially convicted in a 2013 trial of obstructing justice. Last year, however, a judge overturned that conviction based on misconduct by the jury’s forewoman.

“I’m thankful that the Department of Justice has finally acknowledged that I did not engage in any act to obstruct justice,” Mix said in a statement. “This is not a fight I ever wanted, but I was never going to give in to the false accusation that I obstructed justice.”

The blowout on board the Deepwater Horizon rig drilling the Macondo prospect in April 2010 killed 11 workers and was one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, spilling nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this year, BP reached a record $18.7 billion deal with the US prosecutors and five coastal states, settling all claims.

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