Corporations are people, my friend, and that means they can commit manslaughter. After listening to testimony from relatives of the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a federal judge today approved BP's plea deal, allowing the oil giant to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges, the AP reports. BP will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.
Neither BP nor the Justice Department presented arguments at the hearing, but in a filing beforehand, the DOJ argued that the fines amounted to "severe corporate punishment" and would give BP and others incentive to avoid future mishaps. But many relatives of the victims criticized the deal, with one man arguing that BP executives should be forced to give them face-to-face apologies. Judge Sarah Vance told them that she couldn't alter the terms of the deal, only accept it or reject it, and she chose to accept it.