Feds: Engineer Deleted 200 BP Spill Texts
Kurt Mix the first to be hit with criminal charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2012 1:06 PM CDT
This April 21, 2010 file photo shows oil in the Gulf of Mexico, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(Newser) – The Justice Department said today it filed the first criminal charges in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, accusing a former BP engineer of destroying evidence. Kurt Mix was arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice, and is accused of deleting a string of 200 text messages with a BP supervisor in October 2010 that involved internal BP information about how efforts to cap the well were failing. Mix, 50, of Texas, will make an initial appearance in federal court in Houston this afternoon.

Tomorrow, a federal judge in New Orleans is expected to consider a motion to approve a $7.8 billion civil settlement between BP and a committee of plaintiffs in a civil case.