BP well-site leaders faced earlier indictment in spill case

Documents unsealed Friday confirm that two BP well-site leaders charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 11 workers  in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill disaster originally were indicted more than a month before the case was announced.

Indictments against Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine were filed on Oct. 3, 2012, in federal court in New Orleans, the documents show. But the charges were not announced until after a superseding indictment was filed Nov. 14, 2012.

The documents appear virtually  identical.

Until Friday, Justice Department officials had declined to say if there was an earlier indictment or, if there was, why they waited 42 days to announce the charges. A spokesman didn’t immediately comment when asked the question again Friday.

Lawyers for Kaluza and Vidrine have been seeking answers to the same question as they fight the charges.

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About The Author

Veteran newsman currently covering energy for The Houston Chronicle. Spent 12 years at The Associated Press covering energy, airlines, general business news, legal affairs, politics and state and federal government issues. Won or shared numerous awards and award nominations for coverage of the Gulf oil spill, Delta Air Lines, the Atlanta courthouse shootings and the murders of two Dartmouth College professors. Prior to AP, worked at two daily newspapers in the Boston area.