Ex-Halliburton Manager Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence

Photo of Daniel Horowitz

According to the Associated Press, a former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty to destroying evidence following the deadly Deep Water Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21. Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP's blown-out Macondo well.

Last month, a federal judge accepted a separate plea agreement which requires Halliburton to pay a $200,000 fine for a misdemeanor stemming from Badalamenti's conduct. Halliburton also agreed to be on probation for three years and to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.

In May 2010, according to prosecutors, Badalamenti directed a senior program manager to run computer simulations on centralizers, which are used to keep the casing centered in the wellbore. The results indicated there was little difference between using six or 21 centralizers. The data could have supported BP's decision to use the lower number, but Justice Department prosecutor William Pericak said the number of centralizers had "little effect" on the outcome of the simulations. Badalamenti instructed the program manager to delete the results. The program manager "felt uncomfortable" about the instruction but complied, according to prosecutors. A different Halliburton employee also deleted data from a separate round of simulations at the direction of Badalamenti, prosecutors said. "Again, the results showed no appreciable difference," Pericak said.

Halliburton notified investigators from a Justice Department task force about the deletion of data. Efforts to recover the data weren't successful. During Tuesday's hearing, Zainey pressed the attorneys to explain how Badalamenti's actions amounted to a crime. "Where's the criminal intent?" he asked. Tai Park, one of Badalamenti's attorneys, said the misdemeanor charge to which his client pleaded guilty doesn't require "criminal intent, in the sense of willfulness." "He was not authorized to give such a direction to his supervisees," Park said. Pericak said Badalamenti intentionally ordered the deletion of the data even though another Halliburton executive instructed him to preserve all material related to BP's blown-out well.

Sentencing guidelines calculated by prosecutors call for Badalamenti to receive a sentence ranging from probation to six months in prison, according to Park. Zainey, however, isn't bound by the guidelines when he imposes a sentence. Badalamenti wasn't the first individual charged with a crime stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but he is the first to plead guilty. BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine await a trial next year on manslaughter charges stemming from the rig workers' deaths. They botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the well blowout, prosecutors say.

If you or someone you know were injured in the Deep Water Horizon rig explosion, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories