Ex-BP exec can be tried on obstruction charge, court rules

The full moon rises over Biloxi's beach and lighthouse in Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi's beaches continue to be impacted by tar balls and weathered oil from the BP oil spill in 2010. (File) (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
The full moon rises over Biloxi's beach and lighthouse in Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi's beaches continue to be impacted by tar balls and weathered oil from the BP oil spill in 2010. (File) (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/30 2:52 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court in New Orleans said Monday that a former BP executive can be tried on a charge that he obstructed a Congressional investigation into the oil company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, posted Monday, reversed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt.

The case involves allegations that David Rainey failed to disclose information from BP, indicating that the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion could have been far greater than estimates that were made publicly.

Engelhardt had ruled in favor of defense lawyers, who said the law that Rainey was charged with breaking refers specifically to congressional committees, but not subcommittees.

A three-judge 5th Circuit panel disagreed, saying the law includes congressional subcommittees.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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