Ex-BP Executive Acquitted of Lying About Size of 2010 Spill

(Bloomberg) -- The highest-ranking BP Plc executive charged in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was found not guilty of lying to investigators in a blow to prosecutors as the company awaits word on billions of dollars in potential fines for the disaster.

Other BP employees still have trials to face, with two former well-site managers charged with manslaughter scheduled to have their cases heard starting in February. An engineer charged with destroying evidence had his conviction reversed with a judge ordering a new trial for him.

The New Orleans jury sided with David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration, whose lawyer called the case one of “prosecutors’ overreach.”

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt said Friday he thought the jury had reached “the correct verdict, based on the evidence.”

The jury was already deciding a narrower case than the government initially proposed.

Engelhardt threw out an obstruction of Congress charge on Monday, the first day of the trial.

On Wednesday, Engelhardt blasted the government for basing its prosecution on a federal investigator’s notes instead of a recorded interview of Rainey.


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