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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 12:38 PM

Judge: Victims of Gulf disaster can weigh in on BP plea deal

Folks who wish to make their statements in written form can do so in one of two ways: 1) fax your comment to 504/589.7744, attention to Judge Sarah Vance, or 2) email your statement to efile-vance@LAED.uscourts.gov. Either way, it must be done by 1/16/13.

http://fuelfix.com/blog/2012/12/12/judge-victims-of-gulf-disaster-can-weigh-in-on-bp-plea-deal/

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 10:11 am by Harry R. Weber in BP, Deepwater drilling, Drilling, Environment, Gulf Oil Disaster

Judge: Victims of Gulf disaster can weigh in on BP plea deal

A federal judge is giving victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a chance to weigh in on whether the court should accept an agreement between BP and the U.S. government under which the British oil giant would plead guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges and pay a multibillion dollar fine.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance wrote in an order in federal court in New Orleans filed late Tuesday that victims will have until Jan. 16 to submit written statements about the plea agreement. Vance said she will hold a hearing Jan. 29 to accept or reject the agreement. She indicated victims could be heard at the hearing if they notified the court in advance.

Vance wants BP and the government to file papers explaining why they believe the plea agreement “adequately reflects the seriousness of the offenses and accepting the agreement satisfies the statutory purposes of sentencing.”

If the judge rejects the plea agreement, BP can withdraw its plea and go to trial. If she accepts it, she will impose the agreed sentence at the late January hearing.

BP has agreed to plead guilty to 13 criminal charges, including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress. It also has agreed to pay a $4.5 billion fine, which would resolve the criminal charges as well as related Securities and Exchange Commission violations. snip

also:

BP Criminal Plea Deal -- Directions for Public Comments
by Mac MacKenzie on Friday, December 14, 2012 at 7:54pm ·
Hey all, I heard back from the Federal Court today regarding venues for public comments on the BP plea agreement and am sharing that information here. The text and link for a story about this is at the bottom of this note.

You'll see in the article that they are inviting all victims to weigh in; they define "victim" as anyone who considers themselves as such or anyone who feels that they've been harmed by the criminal actions of BP. So that's pretty much everyone, in my mind. Please note that all comments, either written or spoken in court, will be entered into the public record.

First of all, if you wish to speak at the hearing (scheduled for 1/29/13 at 10am in New Orleans), you need to speak to the the U.S. Attorney's Victim Witness Coordinator, Donna Duplantier, by January 22nd; she will be compiling a list of all interested citizens. Her phone number is 866/896.2579. I don't know if they plan to limit the number of speakers so I suggest you do this soon. Perhaps we should all schedule a spot, just in case.

Folks who wish to make their statements in written form can do so in one of two ways: 1) fax your comment to 504/589.7744, attention to Judge Sarah Vance, or 2) email your statement to efile-vance@LAED.uscourts.gov. Either way, it must be done by 1/16/13.

I sincerely hope everyone takes advantage of this opportunity. On a personal note, I would be very grateful if you could also squeeze in a statement about the need for a Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) prior to BP regaining their eligibility to engage in federal contracts. While this insn't specifically related to BP's plea arrangement, it is indeed, at least in my thinking, tied to their criminality. They need to be watched, and watched closely.

Best,Mac

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