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Anthony Badalamenti, a former Halliburton manager, has been sentenced to one year of probation for his part in destroying evidence after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Badalamenti faced a maximum sentence of one year in prison after pleading guilty to one misdemeanour count of destruction of evidence, but was instead given a year’s probation along with 100 hours of community service and a $1000 fine by Judge Jay Zainey.
Badalamenti apologised to his family and friends, stating; “I’m truly sorry for what I did.”
Badalamenti was the cement technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., the cement contractor used by BP when constructing its Deepwater Horizon drill rig. After the fateful blowout, and during a post-spill review, Badalamenti ordered two of his employees to delete data pertaining to Halliburton’s cement job on the Macondo well.
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Tai Park, one of the lawyers representing Badalamenti, explained that his client had thought that the data he was deleting could always have been recreated if necessary and was therefore disposable in the moment.
Judge Zainey stated; “I still feel that you’re a very honorable man. I have no doubt that you’ve learned from this mistake. It did not involve any criminal intent. It did not involve any loss, but it did involve a misjudgement.”
Four former, or current, BP employees have also been charged with spill-related crimes by the federal court.
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Drilling engineer Kurt Mix has been charged with obstruction of a federal probe of the spill, by destroying evidence in the form of various text messages between himself and a BP supervisor, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges for their part in the deaths of the 11 workers who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Former BP executive David Rainey has also been charged with concealing information from Congress about the true volume of oil spilling from the well into the Gulf of Mexico.
Halliburton itself has already made its own deal with the Justice department, pleading guilty to a misdemeanour charge over Badalamenti’s conduct, and agreeing to pay a $200,000 fine and make a $55 million donation to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com