Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Deepwater Horizon rig supervisor Robert Kaluza made opening statements yesterday in a trial expected to last 13 days. Kaluza is being brought up on a misdemeanor pollution charge in what will likely be the last trial in a sweeping Justice Department investigation into the largest oil spill in the history of the industry. Prosecutors say Kaluza and fellow supervisor Donald Vidrine botched a “negative pressure test” and missed clear signs of trouble before the blowout. Vidrine pleaded guilty to the same charge, violating the Clean Water Act, and is among 31 possible prosecution witnesses. Both men were once charged with manslaughter connected to the 11 workers who died, but federal prosecutors dropped those charges in December. Only four employees, mostly lower-ranking, were charged with individual criminal responsibility for the spill. Most of those cases unraveled before skeptical jurors and judges.
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