NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A former BP engineer and his attorney are lashing out at the Justice Department. It comes after Kurt Mix pleaded guilty to deleting emails that his attorney said had nothing to do with the BP spill.
Mix is a former BP engineer who left federal court feeling that the air had been cleared.
"As I stand on the courthouse steps, I am thankful," Mix said.
Mix's attorneys said he had nothing to do with the events leading up to the 2010 oil spill but was persecuted by the government anyway.
"This case is a poster child for what the Department of Justice should never do," attorney Joan McPhee said.
The Justice Department initially charged Mix with obstruction of justice for deleting emails as part of an alleged cover-up. He was found guilty in a 2013 trial, but the conviction was overturned. Mix was granted a new trial, and on Friday he entered a guilty plea to a reduced misdemeanor charge of intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer.
"Today Kurt acknowledged that he deleted a string of text messages with a close friend that included personal information," McPhee said.
From the bench Judge Stanwood Duval advised Mix that he deleted the text messages in spite of a warning from BP lawyers not to do so.
"Kurt Mix did understand the hold notice, he did intentionally delete the message that was almost entirely personal with his friend. His error was not seeking BP's permission under the terms of this agreement," McPhee said.
His attorneys said Mix worked tirelessly to stop the 87-day oil gusher, and was the victim of an overzealous Justice Department.
"The case was an injustice, and the public deserves an explanation as to how they got it so wrong," McPhee said.
The judge gave Mix six months of probation.
"I can finally start to put my life back together," Mix said.
Mix will be allowed to serve his probation at his Houston-area home.
Eleven men died in the BP explosion in April of 2010. Mix's attorneys said he worked for 90 days after the blast, with just one day, and he didn't deserve his poor treatment by the feds.