The Justice Department charged a former Halliburton Co. manager Thursday with destroying evidence in the aftermath of BP PLC's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Anthony Badalamenti, 61, a former cementing technology director for Halliburton from Katy, Texas, is accused of directing two other Halliburton employees to delete computer-simulation data in May and June 2010. The data related to how BP constructed the well that blew out in April 2010, leading to a deadly explosion and massive oil spill.
Mr. Badalamenti was previously told to preserve any data related to the well since the government was investigating the accident, according to court filings. The computer simulation didn't bear out Halliburton's contention that BP erred by not following its advice on using certain equipment, according to Justice Department filings.
Mr. Badalamenti is charged in a bill of information, which often signals a defendant is cooperating toward a planned guilty plea. His lawyer declined to comment.
The charge, a misdemeanor, carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and could include an unspecified fine.
Mr. Badalamenti is the fifth person criminally charged in connection with the accident. Two BP engineers on the rig at the time were charged with manslaughter for failing to detect the blowout, a BP manager was charged with lying about the size of the spill, and another BP engineer was charged with destroying evidence after the accident.
The new charge came the same day a federal judge in New Orleans accepted Halliburton's guilty plea to one count of destruction of evidence about the spill. The company will pay a $200,000 fine and agreed to donate $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.