Judge Delays BP Rig Supervisors' Trial Until June | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Judge Delays BP Rig Supervisors' Trial Until June

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has agreed to postpone the manslaughter trial of two BP supervisors who worked on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The trial of Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine was scheduled to start on Jan. 13, but U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. agreed to delay it until June 2 during a closed-door meeting with attorneys earlier this week. The judge's order was disclosed in a court filing Friday.

Defense attorneys had asked for a nine-month delay, saying they need more time to review more than 60 million documents provided by the government.

Kaluza and Vidrine pleaded not guilty last year to charges they botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the blowout of BP's Macondo well. Eleven workers died in the subsequent explosion.

Justice Department prosecutors opposed the request for a delay, saying defense attorneys already had adequate time to prepare.

Duval, however, said in his order that it wasn't reasonable to expect the lawyers to be ready for trial in January due to the "unusual and complex nature of the case." The judge said he doesn't intend to delay the trial again.

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