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Feds seek summer trial date for Gulf spill claims

The Justice Department is urging a federal judge to set a new trial date for this summer for government claims against BP over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a court filing Tuesday, government lawyers say a class-action settlement agreement between BP and a team of plaintiffs' attorneys shouldn't delay a trial for claims that aren't covered by the proposed deal.

BP has asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to set a January 2013 trial date.

The state of Alabama also on Tuesday asked Barbier to clear the way for a trial this year. The judge has scheduled a meeting Thursday to discuss plans for setting a trial date.

Meanwhile, Barbier is expected to decide this week whether to preliminarily approve to the proposed settlement.

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