3 BP employees arraigned on Gulf oil spill charges

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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Habans, however, said court records related to civil litigation over the spill indicate Vidrine did discuss the test results with an onshore engineer less than an hour before the blast. A Justice Department attorney questioned a BP expert about the phone conversation between Vidrine and the engineer, Mark Hafle.

"It's almost inconceivable to me that the government in the indictment makes a contrary allegation," Habans said.

But the indictment appears to fault Kaluza and Vidrine for failing to phone engineers on shore earlier that day while the tests were being performed.

Lawyers for Rainey declined to comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.

A trial for Kaluza and Vidrine is scheduled to start on Feb. 4, while Rainey has a Jan. 28 trial date. Both dates could be postponed given the complexity of the cases.

BP announced earlier this month that it will plead guilty to manslaughter, obstruction of Congress and other charges and pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties to resolve a Justice Department probe of the disaster.

Attorneys for BP and the Justice Department are scheduled to meet Dec. 11 with a federal judge to discuss a date for the company to plead guilty.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. but operated on behalf of BP, was drilling in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010, when it was rocked by an explosion. The bodies of 11 workers were never recovered.



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