Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it was investigating whether BP properly reported pressure measurements during its deepwater drilling. Last week, The Wall Street Journal and NPR reported prosecutors may be close to pursuing criminal charges against several Houston-based engineers and at least one BP supervisor for giving false information about drilling risks (including pressure readings) which led to the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 men and flooded the Gulf of Mexico and its coasts with a months-long gusher.
A DOJ prosecution task force led by Brooklyn prosecutor John Buretta is leading the investigation, and, according to NPR, the engineers are already lawyering up. No charges have been filed yet, however. BP will enter trials in February, anyway, as the feds determine liability for the disaster. Meanwhile, the company faces stacks of lawsuits for compensation not addressed by its claims process. — Alex Woodward