Gulf oil spill criminal investigation progressing, Holder says
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has told Congress that a criminal investigation of the 2010 BP oil spill is progressing and that he expects to discuss the probe publicly "within months," The Times-Picayune reports. Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, Holder also said that his prosecutors "are prepared to go to trial" against BP and other companies connected to the massive spill if settlement talks aren't successful. Holder said the trial would consider penalties for violation of the Clean Water Act and other federal statutes. "We were ready to go to trial yesterday," he added, reiterating that the government has a "strong case." The attorney general declined to discuss the settlement talks, which led federal District Judge Carl Barbier to put off this week's scheduled start of what was expected to be a lengthy and highly complicated trial. The trial is now scheduled to start next week, if the talks fail or if agreement is reached on some but not all of the issues scheduled to be litigated.
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