A lawyer for a former BP engineer accused of obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is asking a judge to impose sanctions and has accused federal prosecutors of misconduct for allegedly withholding evidence that could clear her client.
Kurt Mix’s attorney, Joan McPhee, wrote in a court filing in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Tuesday that emails, witness statements and depositions have been withheld from the defense that go to the heart of the prosecution’s theory of motive.
Among other things, prosecutors have alleged that Mix’s deletion of text messages and voicemails about the amount of oil that was flowing from BP’s Macondo well after it blew out off the coast of Louisiana was part of a company cover-up.
“The government cannot fairly claim that it has no obligation to turn over to the defense the documents that conclusively negate its core ‘data free zone,’ ‘nobody was sharing,’ and ‘cover-up’ allegations,” McPhee wrote.
She added, “Some form of sanctions and remedies are clearly warranted.”
In Washington, a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment Wednesday. The judge overseeing the case did not immediately rule.
Mix, who is scheduled to go to trial in June, has pleaded not guilty.
Read ongoing FuelFix coverage of the legal trials surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:
- Houston may sue BP for lost taxes after oil spill (April 16)
- BP manager testifies at trial over Gulf oil spill (April 15)
- Ex-BP engineer responds to feds’ ‘farcical’ claims (April 11)
- BP shareholders urge stronger fight against ‘extortionate’ Gulf spill claims (April 11)
- BP executive says safety was top priority (April 9)