An engineer charged in connection with the 2010 BP oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was found guilty of one count of obstructing justice by a federal jury on Wednesday, officials said.
Kurt Mix, 52, now a former BP Plc employee, had faced two counts of obstruction for deleting hundreds of messages he exchanged with his supervisor and a contractor in the weeks after the spill.
He was part of a team that scrambled to plug the Macondo well and figure out how much oil was leaking in what became the worst offshore environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The Macondo well explosion on April 20, 2010, killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and triggered an 87-day oil spill in which millions of gallons of crude flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.
During the two-week trial, government lawyers painted Mix as a loyal member of the drilling team who tried to shield BP from blame by deleting text and voice messages that may have proven BP lied about how much oil was escaping into the gulf.
Defense attorneys, who do not deny Mix deleted messages, insisted he had no ill intent and that the deletions were largely accidental.
Mix, of Katy, Texas, did not take the stand in his own defense. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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