(CN) - A jury has convicted an engineer with one count of obstructing justice in connection with the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Kurt Mix, a former BP Plc employee, had faced two counts of obstruction for deleting hundreds of messages he exchanged with a supervisor and others in the weeks after the spill.
The Macondo well exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers who were on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig at the time. Over the next two-and-half months, millions of gallons of oil poured into the surrounding waters.
During a two-week trial, prosecutor Leo Tsao accused Mix of attempting to protect his employer by deleting voice, text and email messages that would have revealed BP was well aware of how much oil was flowing into the Gulf, and tried to hide it.
Meanwhile Michael McGovern, representing Mix, maintained his client was innocent and that the deletions were largely accidental.
NPR reported that McGovern also told to jurors Mix preserved other records containing the same information contained in the deleted messages.
Mix, 52, now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is one of four current or firmer BP employees charged with crimes in connection with the well explosion and spill. His case is the first to have gone to trial.
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