BP Criminal Settlement Approved, Civil Trial Still Pending

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Now that the U.S. Justice Department's criminal probe of BP PLC is resolved, the company faces billions of dollars more in civil penalties for its role in the 2010 massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for 11 rig workers' deaths and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

Next up in the case is a civil trial designed to identify what caused a BP well to blow out in April 2010, triggering an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil, much of it into the Gulf.

The trial also is intended to assign percentages of blame to BP and its partners.

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