The Latest: Ex-BP engineer's attorney blasts prosecutors

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Posted: Nov 06, 2015 1:08 PM
The Latest: Ex-BP engineer's attorney blasts prosecutors

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The latest on the case of a former BP engineer who was accused of deleting text messages after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill (all times local):

Noon

A defense lawyer has delivered a withering public criticism of federal prosecutors in the case against a former BP engineer once accused of deleting a string of text messages related to his work to stop the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Prosecutors dropped an obstruction of justice charge against Kurt Mix on Friday after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, admitting he deleted the texts without first getting permission from BP. He was sentenced to six months of probation.

Defense attorney Joan McPhee said the texts were mostly personal exchanges, with only scant reference to the spill. She said the federal prosecutors pursued the case recklessly.

Mix told reporters he's glad the ordeal is over. Justice Department lawyers declined immediate comment.

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10:45 a.m.

A former BP engineer who was accused of deleting text messages after the Gulf oil spill has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and been sentenced to six months of probation.

Kurt Mix had been fighting an obstruction charge for more than three years. In federal court in New Orleans on Friday, he pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. Prosecutors recommended probation and a judge agreed.

Mix had been part of a BP team trying to stop an underwater gusher of oil. Prosecutors say that after the spill, he deleted text messages he had exchanged with a contractor during the spill.

(This version corrects that Mix was sentenced to probation, not prison)

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10:20 a.m.

A former BP engineer has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and hopes to avoid prison after he was accused of deleting text messages about how much oil spewed into the Gulf during the 2010 spill.

Kurt Mix entered the plea Friday in federal court in New Orleans. He has been fighting an obstruction charge for more than three years.

He pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. Prosecutors are recommending probation.

Mix had been part of a BP team trying to stop an underwater gusher of oil. Prosecutors say that after the spill, he deleted text messages he had exchanged with a contractor during the spill.

At a 2013 trial, he was acquitted on one obstruction charge and convicted on another. But he won a new trial on that conviction because of juror misconduct.