02.05.08

Judge In BP, Texas City Blast Case Offers No Timetable

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Cronyism, Had Enough Yet? at 1:44 pm by wcnews

Update to yesterday’s post on the US Justice Departments plea deal with BP that’s opposed by the victims, Judge mulls BP plea in Texas plant blast. It will continue:

A federal judge on Monday gave victims of BP PLC’s deadly 2005 plant explosion one more chance to argue why a guilty plea deal resulting from the federal government’s probe of the accident should be rejected.

After a more than six-hour court hearing, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal delayed making a decision on whether to accept or reject the highly criticized plea agreement.

It proposes the London-based oil giant plead guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act and pay a $50 million fine for its criminal conduct in the blast, which killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others. The company would also be on probation for three years.

During the hearing, several attorneys for victims of the blast said the proposed fine was far too low and argued the penalty should be calculated based on the actual losses victims have experienced, such as lost wages, medical and funeral expenses.

Rosenthal agreed to let victims’ and BP’s attorneys as well as prosecutors file legal briefs within the next two weeks arguing this issue.

The judge gave no timetable on when she would make a final ruling on whether to accept BP’s guilty plea, which was formally entered on behalf of the company on Monday by Texas City plant manager Keith Casey.

Forgot to link this NPR story from yesterday, Deal over Texas Refinery Blast Opposed.

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