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January date to rule on BP $4.5B plea deal over spill

A federal judge says she will decide next month whether to accept a plea deal that calls for BP PLC to pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties for a deadly 2010 rig explosion and the massive oil spill it triggered in the Gulf of Mexico.

To resolve a Justice Department probe, the London-based oil giant agreed last month to plead guilty to criminal charges involving the deaths of 11 workers and to lying to Congress about how much oil spilled from its blown-out well.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance scheduled a Jan. 29 hearing where she will either accept or reject BP's plea agreement with the government.

BP can withdraw its plea if she rejects the deal.

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