Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu November 15, 2012
Four More BP Employees Will Be Charged In Oil Spill
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:12 pm
Two sources tell NPR that four more BP employees will be charged in relation to the BP oil spill, which dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The individuals facing manslaughter charges are former BP well managers Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza. Another high ranking official, David Rainey, the former head of Gulf of Mexico exploration, will be charged with downplaying the spill to lawmakers. One more lower ranking BP employee will face insider trading charges.
Bob Habans, a lawyer for Vidrine, told NPR early Thursday he would have comments after he reviewed any charging documents. A lawyer for Rainey signaled he would vigorously contest the charges.
Previously, only one other person had been criminally charged. BP engineer, Kurt Mix, was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages after the spill.
This news comes just hours after BP pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.
Update at 5:11 p.m. ET. 'A Man Of High Integrity':
Reid H. Weingarten and Brian M. Heberlig, partners in the Washington, DC office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP and attorneys for David Rainey stated today:
"David Rainey is a man of high integrity and moral character who has done absolutely nothing wrong. We are profoundly disappointed that the Department of Justice is attempting to turn a tragic accident and its tumultuous aftermath into criminal activity.
"We are even more disappointed that BP has succumbed to the pressure and agreed to this extortionate settlement.
"Mr. Rainey did not commit the crimes charged in the indictment, period. We intend to vigorously defend him at trial and are confident he will be exonerated of these baseless charges."
Update at 2:32 p.m. ET. A Scapegoat:
Lawyers for Bob Kaluza say that the government "needs a scapegoat."
"No one should take any satisfaction in this indictment of an innocent man," Shaun Clarke and David Gerger said in a statement.
Kaluza has worked in the oilfields for more than 44 years. He joined BP in 1997 and started work on Deepwater Horizon for four days before the explosion.
Update at 1:56 p.m. ET. A Misguided Effort:
Bob Habans a lawyer for Vidrine said the Justice department is exercising "exceedingly poor judgement" by indicting Vidrine.
"We cannot begin to explain or understand the misguided effort of the United States Attorney and the Department of Justice to blame Don Vidrine and Bob Kaluza, the other well site leader, for this terrible tragedy," Habans said in a statement.
"These charges are a miscarriage of justice," he added.