Appeals court: Ex-BP exec can be tried for obstructing Congress in spill probe


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NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court in New Orleans says a former BP executive can be tried on a charge that he obstructed a Congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

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 PLC indicating that the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion could have been far higher than estimates that were being 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.

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