Deepwater Horizon defendant gets a new trial

Deepwater Horizon defendant gets a new trial U.S. Coast Guard photo

JULY 1, 2015 — Former BP engineer Kurt Mix, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in the Deepwater Horizon case after he allegedly deleted multiple e-mails, has had his conviction dismissed and will get a new trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Mix's criminal conviction due to juror misconduct.

During juror deliberation, the jury forewoman overheard a conversation in a courthouse elevator that other BP employees involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were being prosecuted. She told the other jurors that this made her even more convinced that the defendant was guilty.

In her 17-page ruling written on behalf of a three-judge panel, Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote that the forewoman’s disclosure tainted the jury’s deliberations. "Even one juror’s prejudice is sufficient to warrant a new trial," she wrote.

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