BP executive takes stand as trial over penalties in Gulf oil spill continues in New Orleans

IndustriesAssociated Press

A BP executive has taken the stand as lawyers for the oil giant make their case for a federal Clean Water Act penalty well under the $13.7 billion maximum for the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Richard Morrison, a regional president for BP Exploration and Production, was Tuesday's first witness as the three-week trial nears its midpoint. He began his testimony by discussing the early days after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig at BP's Macondo well.

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Morrison described a "move-heaven-and-earth" response, with the corporation working closely with the Coast Guard and state and local officials.

BP is trying to convince the judge it shouldn't pay the top civil penalty for polluting the gulf because it has already spent $42 billion on cleanup, criminal penalties and civil settlements.