(Reuters) – A U.S. federal appeals court has reinstated a criminal charge of obstruction of Congress against a former BP Plc executive accused of downplaying the severity of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Friday said a lower court judge misinterpreted the obstruction statute in dismissing the charge against David Rainey, a former BP exploration vice president.
Rainey was also charged with making false statements to law-enforcement agents, which was not at issue in the government’s appeal. He has pleaded not guilty.
The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig led to 11 deaths and the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.