Ex-BP engineer convicted on 1 obstruction charge

In this Dec. 3, 2013 photo, former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix arrives at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

December 18, 2013 8:33:33 AM PST
A former BP drilling engineer has been convicted of one charge that he deleted text messages from his cellphone to obstruct a federal probe of the company's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A jury acquitted him of a second charge.

A federal jury deliberated for more than nine hours before reaching a verdict on Kurt Mix's case Wednesday. The count of obstruction of justice carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors argued that the 52-year-old resident of Katy, Texas, was trying to destroy evidence when he deleted messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor. Mix's lawyers said their client didn't hide anything.

Mix was one of four current or former BP employees charged with crimes related to the spill. His case was the first to be tried. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26.

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