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    BP Says Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuit Goes Too Far

    Lawyers representing the victims are going beyond federal law, the company alleged.

    HOUSTON -- BP and federal prosecutors have alleged in court filings that lawyers for the victims of the March 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery are stretching far beyond parameters of federal law by requesting a multibillion-dollar fine levied against the company in a criminal case against the company, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    CSNews Online previously reported victims asked for the company to pay at least $2 billion in criminal fines, as well as submit to court-ordered monitoring to settle a criminal charge associated with the accident. In addition, lawyers of the victims filed papers in federal court pushing the judge to reject the $50 million plea bargain that BP struck with the U.S. Justice Department in October.

    In another filing, BP and the government said a deal calling for a felony plea and a $50 million fine would bypass a lengthy trial, adding the criminal trial might not result in a guilty verdict, due to the burden of proof being higher than in civil litigation, the Chronicle reported. In addition, the plea bargain ended BP's criminal liability to the incident, and the company already paid $1.6 billion to victims of the accident, CSNews Online previously reported.

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