New indictments for ex-BP executive, engineer over Gulf spill

Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:28pm EDT

* U.S. accuses David Rainey, Kurt Mix of obstruction
    * 2010 offshore spill largest in U.S. history

    By Jonathan Stempel
    June 19 (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors unveiled new
criminal indictments on Wednesday against a former BP Plc 
executive and a former BP engineer charged with obstructing
investigations into the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
    The new indictment of former executive David Rainey adds
language suggesting he knew of the congressional probe he was
charged with obstructing when he provided false information soon
after the spill to members of the House Committee on Energy and
Commerce, including about the rate that oil flowed from the
ruptured Macondo well.
    Last month, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt in New
Orleans dismissed a count of obstruction of Congress against
Rainey in part because it lacked sufficient detail, which the
revised indictment is intended to address.
    A second count accuses Rainey, a former BP vice president of
exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, of lying to investigators in
an April 2011 interview about how he calculated the flow rate.
    The other revised indictment still accuses former BP
engineer Kurt Mix of two obstruction counts for allegedly
deleting records related to the oil flow rate, but reduces the
number of voice mails he allegedly deleted.
    Lawyers for Rainey and Mix did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
    Both defendants pleaded not guilty last year and are
scheduled to be arraigned under the new indictments on June 25.
    Rainey's trial is scheduled for Oct. 15 and Mix's trial for
Dec. 2, court records show.
    Two former well site leaders, Robert Kaluza and Donald
Vidrine, were also criminally charged and have pleaded not
guilty.
    The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon resulted in 11 deaths
and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
    BP agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of Congress, a
felony, as part of a $4.5 billion criminal settlement last
November with the U.S. Department of Justice. 
    The cases are U.S. v. Rainey, U.S. District Court, Eastern
District of Louisiana, No. 12-cr-00291; and U.S. v. Mix in the
same court, No. 12-cr-00171.
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