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Crime & Courts

After resolving $4B in criminal penalties, BP now faces billions of dollars in civil fines

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    FILE - In this April 21, 2010 aerial file photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. A U.S. judge on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, approved an agreement for British oil giant BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company's role in the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)The Associated Press

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    FILE - In a Wednesday, April 20, 2011 file photo, people gather near crosses -11 for the workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and one for the Gulf of Mexico, center - during a vigil to mark the first anniversary of the BP PLC oil spill on a beach in Grand Isle, La. A U.S. judge on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, approved an agreement for British oil giant BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company's role in the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)The Associated Press

Now that the U.S. Justice Department's criminal probe of BP PLC is resolved, the company faces billions of dollars more in civil penalties for its role in the 2010 massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for 11 rig workers' deaths and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

Next up in the case is a civil trial designed to identify what caused a BP well to blow out in April 2010, triggering an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil, much of it into the Gulf.

The trial also is intended to assign percentages of blame to BP and its partners.

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