Former BP Engineer Cleared of Obstruction of Justice Charges in Deepwater Horizon Case
On Nov. 6, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped all obstruction of justice charges against former BP engineer Kurt Mix related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mix pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of deleting a single text message conversation with a close personal friend who was also a co-worker. The texts, were almost entirely personal in nature and did not include anything important about the oil spill.
Joan McPhee of Ropes & Gray LLP, attorney for Kurt Mix, stated, “The resolution of this case is a vindication of Kurt Mix and an acknowledgment by the Department of Justice that Kurt never acted to obstruct justice. It is an affirmation of Kurt’s innocence of the charges that the Department of Justice has been pursuing for over four years. This is a case that never should have been brought, against a man whose tireless efforts in the Deepwater Horizon spill should have been acknowledged and appreciated, not prosecuted.”
Mix stated, "I'm thankful that the Department of Justice has finally acknowledged that I did not engage in any act to obstruct justice. My family and I have paid an enormous price as a result of the Justice Department’s misguided prosecution. This is not a fight I ever wanted, but I was never going to give in to the false accusation that I obstructed justice."
Today's announcement was the culmination of a lengthy investigation and prosecution initiated by the Justice Department in the summer of 2011. The Department of Justice mounted a four-year prosecution against Mix, costing millions of taxpayer dollars. A jury in December 2013 cleared Mix of one obstruction of justice charge, and the Department of Justice dropped the second charge today.
Attorney Joan McPhee added, “This case is a poster child for what the Department of Justice should not do. The public deserves an explanation. We hope the Justice Department will conduct a thorough review of how a meritless case like this gets filed in the first place and then pursued so aggressively for so long.”
For more information, go to kurtmixfacts.com.
Forbes, "Government Drops Obstruction Charges Against Former BP Engineer Kurt Mix"