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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010)

Ex-BP engineer pleads guilty to lesser charge in spill probe

A former BP engineer accused of obstructing an investigation into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by deleting a string of text messages pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge, avoiding prison time and ending a legal ordeal that spanned four years.

Prosecutors declined comment after dropping the obstruction charge that could have landed Kurt Mix in prison for 20 years. Instead, he was sentenced to six months of probation.

Mix's attorney said the plea agreement resulted from an "unravelling" government case. Mix himself said he felt vindicated and relieved, but he also expressed disillusionment.

"Before this case I knew very little about our justice system...