NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former BP supervisor on a pollution charge in the 2010 oil spill (all times local):
Although a Deepwater Horizon supervisor is accused of ignoring clear signs that a test showed problems hours before the rig exploded in flames in 2010, another supervisor testified that three other workers shared responsibility for interpreting the test in question.
Murry Sepulvado (sep-UL-vuh-doh) was the second prosecution witness to testify in Robert Kaluza's trial on a misdemeanor pollution charge. Sepulvado was not on the rig when it blew wild, starting a nearly 3-month-long gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.
Prosecutors had Sepulvado describe the test in question and other operating procedures.
During cross-examination, defense attorney David Gerger (GER-ger) asked him whether people in three other positions could order an emergency shutdown if they felt something was going wrong with that test. Sepulvado answered "yes, sir," to each.
A drilling foreman who had gone off-duty several hours earlier said he was called from his bed shortly before the Deepwater Horizon blew wild on April 20, 2010.
The rig erupted in flames, killing 11 men. Once the fire was out, the well spewed oil for nearly three months, blackening seashores in four states.
But Miles Randal "Randy" Ezell did not testify about any of that. He was the first prosecution witness to testify as BP rig supervisor Robert Kaluza went on trial Wednesday on a misdemeanor pollution charge.
Ezell said the well was being temporarily plugged so the drilling rig could leave it and a production crew could take over. He says two people had told him that a required test had gone well. But about 9:50 p.m., he said he was called and asked to help with a problem — drilling mud was blowing into the rig.
Ezell said he pulled on overalls, went across the hall to his office and an explosion blew him across his office and blew a bookshelf, equipment and walls onto him.
Jurors in the trial of a Deepwater Horizon rig supervisor appeared to listen intently as a federal prosecutor and a defense attorney laid out their arguments in Robert Kaluza's trial on a pollution charge in the 2010 disaster.
Prosecutor Jennifer Saulino told them Kaluza ignored a "red flag" and should have conferred with onshore engineers and shut down the rig before the well blew wild. She also told them that he's not the only cause, but should be convicted as one of those responsible.
Defense attorney Shaun Clarke said Kaluza did in fact shut down the rig near the end of his shift, and it was night supervisor Donald Vidrine who re-started things. He also said the main cause of the explosion was failure to maintain the rig's 5-story blowout preventer.
Court proceedings in the trial of a Deepwater Horizon rig supervisor began before the jury arrived. Discussions revolved around some of the evidence and whether codefendant Donald Vidrine's name should remain in the indictment.
Vidrine has pleaded guilty to the same pollution charge that Robert Kaluza is being tried on. Prosecutor Jennifer Saulino said Vidrine will testify.
The judge called the presence of his name in the indictment "a dangling participle the size of Jupiter." He said the name is likely to make jurors think about him. Lawyers agreed to remove the name, and the judge gave them time to do so.
Proceedings began shortly after 9 a.m. with Saulino reading the revised indictment to the 12 jurors and two alternates.
Federal prosecutors and lawyers for a Deepwater Horizon rig supervisor are ready to tell jurors what they expect to prove as 65-year-old Robert Kaluza is tried on a misdemeanor pollution charge from the BP oil spill.
A jury was chosen Tuesday for what's probably the last trial from a sweeping Justice Department probe of the rig explosion and blowout. Opening arguments were scheduled Wednesday.
The well blew in April 2010, spewing an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before it was plugged months later.
Prosecutors say Kaluza and fellow supervisor Donald Vidrine botched a "negative pressure test" and missed clear signs of trouble before the blowout.
Vidrine pleaded guilty to the same charge: violating the Clean Water Act. He's among 31 possible prosecution witnesses.