Supreme Court rejects BP executive’s appeal in oil spill case

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal from a BP executive, an appeal that sought to challenge a charge stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

David Rainey was accused of lying to Congress about the severity of the oil spill that followed the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which resulted in an obstruction of justice charge. It stemmed from testimony he gave to a subpanel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee weeks after the spill started.

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Rainey, a former vice president for exploration at BP, argued the charge should be dismissed because federal prosecutors missed a deadline to appeal a district court ruling that had overturned the charge.

He was also charged with making false statements to law enforcement officers, a charge that was not the subject of the Supreme Court appeal. He has pleaded not guilty to all the accusations.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that the charge against Rainey could go forward, reversing the district court’s dismissal. That ruling can stand thanks to the Supreme Court’s Monday decision.

BP is currently fighting in federal court in Louisiana over its corporate responsibility for the case.

The company has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and penalties related to the explosion and spill, but it faces up to $13.7 billion in additional Clean Water Act penalties.