NEW ORLEANS-- At times emotional, families of some of the 11 men lost on the Deepwater Horizon addressed Federal Judge Sarah Vance on Tuesday, as she weighed whether or not to accept a plea deal reached between the Department of Justice and BP.
Shelley Anderson lost her husband, Jason, on the Deepwater Horizon rig.
'Today, when I told my son, River, that I had to be here and I had to go and do this for daddy, he got very excited. His face lit up, 'I want to go see daddy, too. I want to go see my daddy!'' she said, her eyes tearing up.
Courtney Kemp-Robertson's husband, Roy Wyatt Kemp, also did not survive the explosion.
'I hope that they are punished enough, that no other family has to go through what we've gone through,' she said.
Under the terms of the plea, BP pled guilty to 14 criminal counts, including:
11 counts of manslaughter-- one for each of the men killed on the rig
1 count of violating the Clean Water Act
1 count for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
and a felony count of obstruction, for misleading Congress about how much oil was spewing from the well
The oil giant will also have to pay $4 billion in criminal penalties.
Before sentencing, Judge Vance said the deal appeared 'reasonably calculated' and that it is 'by far the largest criminal penalty ever.'
Fishermen, who were also affected by the spill, arrived at Federal Court in a bus.
'I agree with the judge, but this is the beginning for our presence in the settlements,' said Anh Dao Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Fisherfolk Association.
In court, Luke Keller, Vice President of BP America, publicly apologized to the victims
'BP knows there is nothing we can say to diminish their loss,' Keller said, later adding, 'We are deeply sorry.'
Victims' families said they had been waiting for an apology.
'This is the first time in three years that we got an apology from BP,' said Chris Jones, whose brother Gordon Jones, died on the rig.
While the criminal side of the case is finished, the civil case is far from over. A civil trial will get underway on Feb. 25 in Federal Court in New Orleans. In that case, BP faces the potential for billions of dollars more in fines.