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Three men in court on charges related to Deepwater Horizon

The country's worst oil spill is back in the news now that indictments, settlements and trials have been initiated. According to reports, three men-two site leaders at Deepwater Horizon and a former executive-have been accused of felony charges. Each of them pleaded not guilty and will be fighting the charges that have been brought against them.

The lawyers for the trio all described their clients as individuals that have been targeted for use as scapegoats. According to one of the attorneys, the U.S. government has spent millions of dollars and almost three years of its time on the investigation into the 2010 disaster that killed 11 workers-because of this, the attorneys believe that the government is looking for someone to take the blame.

Another one of the attorneys pointed out an interesting piece of information: BP, a British company, was allowed to attempt a settlement before charges were officially filed but he was not aware of client's indictment until the day it was announced. In addition, the man was not offered a plea agreement deal.

The two well-site leaders have been accused of manslaughter due to their alleged inability to alert on-shore managers of the clear insecurities of the well. Oil and gas flowed into the well and, at some point, an explosion was triggered, killing the workers. According to their attorneys, the accused men were following directions from on-shore managers throughout the process.

The other accused man worked for BP as vice president in charge of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. He has been charged with making false statements to law enforcement officials and obstructing Congress. According to the accusations, he did not state the true amount of oil flowing from the well after the explosion had occurred.

That aforementioned settlement between BP and the government is worth $4.5 billion. If approved by a federal judge, it will settle charges related to obstruction, manslaughter and other crimes, including accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Fuel Fix, "Deepwater Horizon defendants vow to fight charges," Harry R. Weber, Nov. 28, 2012

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