NEW ORLEANS — Attorneys for a former BP engineer convicted of trying to obstruct a federal probe of the company's 2010 Gulf oil spill have asked for more time to file requests for a new trial or a post-verdict acquittal.
On Tuesday, Kurt Mix's lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. for a weeklong extension of a Jan. 2 deadline for filing the requests.
On Dec. 18, a jury convicted Mix of obstruction of justice for deleting a string of text messages to and from a BP supervisor. Jurors acquitted him of a second count of the same charge, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Mix worked on BP's efforts to seal its blown-out Macondo well. Prosecutors said he tried to destroy evidence when he deleted the messages.
The rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP, was drilling about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast when the well blew out on the night of April 20, 2010.
The explosion killed 11 workers on the rig, which burned for nearly two days before sinking to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico nearly a mile below the surface.
The Macondo well spewed crude oil for months, soiling marshlands, killing wildlife and forcing seafood grounds to be closed in the nation's worst offshore oil disaster.
Estimates place the amount of oil that escaped the well at 200 million gallons or more.