Feds File First Criminal Charges in Gulf Disaster Against BP Employee

Two years after oil from a BP well began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed its first criminal charges. They allege that a former BP employee destroyed critical evidence in the early days of the disaster.

The charges are significant because they are the first to target an individual employee for his actions.

A story in online newsroom ProPublica claims an affidavit and complaint filed Tuesday in a Louisiana court shows that Kurt Mix, a former drilling and completions engineer, deleted email and text messages he had sent to senior BP managers estimating that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf was many times greater than the amount stated publicly. Mix was specifically instructed by attorneys contracted by BP to retain his records before he deleted them, the affidavit states.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder indicated to reporters that more charges are likely, describing the indictment as "initial charges" in an ongoing investigation, and saying that the Department of Justice "will hold accountable those who violated the law."
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