A U.S. Appeals Court ruled Tuesday that a former BP engineer facing allegations of obstructing justice tied to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident deserves a new trial.
Kurt Mix was convicted of an obstruction of justice charge in December 2013 after federal prosecutors accused him of deleting text messages and voice mails concerning the spill rate from the blown out Macando well.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed a lower court’s decision on Tuesday to throw out the conviction and said Mix deserves a new trial, Reuters said.
The decision was first overturned by a district court judge last June after the jury forewoman admitted to overhearing in a courthouse elevator that other BP employees were facing charges related to the spill .
According to Reuters, the forewoman told the deadlocked jurors that the comments she overheard helped convince her that Mix was guilty.
In the Appeals Court’s ruling, Circuit Court Judge Edith Brown Clement found that the forewoman “purposely exerted an extrinsic influence on the rest of the jury by telling them that she had overheard something.”
A new trial hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Early last month, David Rainey, a former BP vice president of exploration for the Gulf, was acquitted of lying to federal agents about the size of the Deepwater Horizon spill by a federal jury.