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Deepwater Horizon repercussions continue

Few people in Houston need to be reminded that it has been more than three and a half years since an explosion killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon. In addition to the loss of life, the disaster resulted in the worst offshore oil spill in the nation's history.

The legal repercussions in that offshore drilling rig tragedy continue, as exemplified by the recent guilty verdict in a trial of a former BP drilling engineer accused of obstructing the federal investigation.

The resident of Katy waited as a federal jury deliberated for three days before finding him guilty on one count and acquitting him on a second charge.

The 52-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced in late March. He faces up to 20 years in a federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Prosecutors successfully made the case that the engineer was hoping to destroy evidence by deleting hundreds of text messages he had sent to and received from a BP supervisor.

A pair of jurors told reporters that the lack of testimony from the supervisor contributed to their finding, as did the fact that 17 deleted texts could not be recovered by investigators.

One night during their deliberations, the jury informed the judge that they were deadlocked. However, they resumed deliberations the next day and within an hour, arrived at the unanimous decision.

The engineer was one of the four BP employees to be criminally charged in matters related to the spill. He's the first of the former and current employees to go to trial.

Deepwater Horizon is more than the name of the rig where the tragedy took place; it's also a symbol for how dangerous and deadly offshore rigs can be.

Offshore oil rig workers injured on the job should speak with an attorney experienced in successfully representing clients in this complex area of law.

Source: Westport News, "Ex-BP engineer convicted on 1 obstruction charge," Dec. 18, 2013

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