Former BP exec wants trial delay in Gulf disaster criminal case

A former BP executive charged with obstruction of Congress stemming from statements he made about the amount of oil that was flowing from a blown-out well following the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster is seeking to delay his criminal trial.

A lawyer for David Rainey of Houston wrote in a filing in federal court in New Orleans on Thursday that the case is too complex for his client to be prepared for trial on Jan. 28.

“The indictment follows a roughly two-year investigation by the government,” attorney Brian Heberlig wrote. “Mr. Rainey expects that the volume of discovery will be substantial.”

The lawyer also said he expects to file motions challenging the indictment.

The request for a trial delay does not state a date when Rainey’s lawyers would be ready to proceed. Heberlig said the defense expects to be able to address a new date at a hearing on Jan. 17.

There was no immediate ruling from the presiding judge. Heberlig said in his filing that the government has agreed to the defense request.

The trial delay request was not unexpected.

Lawyers for two BP well-site leaders charged with manslaughter in connection with the Gulf disaster also are expected to seek delays of their trial, which is currently set for Feb. 4. A former BP engineer charged with obstruction for allegedly deleting text messages related to the oil flow rate is currently set for trial Feb. 25.

Also Thursday, Rainey’s lawyers notified the court that their client will be seeking to travel overseas for his current job. The judge who handled Rainey’s initial court appearance said restrictions, including posting a sizable secured bond, would be imposed if Rainey made the request.