Judge approves BP's manslaughter plea in 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Ships work near the site of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana in April 2010.

A federal judge has approved a guilty plea by BP to manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The approved deal includes a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.

Eleven workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig died in the April 2010 explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for those deaths and to lying to Congress about the amount of the oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Family members for some of those victims had urged Judge Sarah Vance to impose stiffer sanctions, and to force BP to apologize. But the judge said she was bound by the terms of the deal between BP and the Justice Department.

This case involves only criminal responsibility for the spill. A separate civil trial over clean water act and natural resource damages is set to start in New Orleans February 25.

RELATED: More on the gulf oil spill from the White House website.

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