NEW ORLEANS -- BP may have admitted guilt, but the individuals charged with manslaughter are defiant.
Company men Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, the top two BP officials on the rig, say they have been made scapegoats for the larger failures of their bosses on shore.
The U.S. Department of Justice delivered a strong message Thursday by not just fining the company, but by charging BP officials with crime.
“This is simply not a corporate plea. Individuals, individuals have been charged,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.
But Shaun Clarke, defense attorney for Kaluza, the top BP man on the right, said they have the wrong individuals.
“This is an incident that caused the deaths of 11 men and unleashed the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history, and yet now the government is going to try to make the public believe that this all happened because two guys on a rig misinterpreted the test,” Clarke said. “It’s crazy. It’s not credible. It’s not true. It’s not justice.”
Eyewitness Investigator David Hammer asked Clarke if he was saying that Kaluza and Vidrine didn’t misinterpret the test and that they weren’t confused by it.
“Let me say this. There’s no doubt that what occurred on that rig that night was a situation that had not been confronted before," Clarke said. "But no, they did not misinterpret the test, and moreover, this test, much more is being made of this test than should be. And that will be a significant theme at trial.”