Oil Spill

DOJ Files First Criminal Charges in BP Oil Spill; Engineer Is Accused of Deleting Texts

The first criminal charges have been filed by the federal government relating to the BP oil spill.

A former BP engineer, Kurt Mix of Katy, Texas, is accused of deleting more than 300 text messages about the amount of oil leaking from the well, according to the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal and a Justice Department press release. The information on oil flow indicated BP’s efforts to contain the spill were failing. He is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice.

According to allegations in the press release, Mix deleted an iPhone string of more than 200 texts exchanged with his supervisor in October 2010 and a string of more than 100 texts with a contractor in August 2011. He is alleged to have deleted the texts after learning a vendor for BP’s lawyers and outside counsel would be collecting his electronic files and imaging his iPhone, the press release says. Mix had received BP warnings to keep information before the first deletions, and had received legal preservation notices before the second, the release says.

BP released a statement saying it has clear policies requiring preservation of evidence and it is cooperating with the Justice Department, the Wall Street Journal says.

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