Texas

Judge: 22 BP fraud charges against lawyer duplicate others

The 94-count fraud indictment against a Texas lawyer and six co-defendants could be shorter when trial begins on federal charges accusing them of inflating a client list for BP oil spill litigation.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. told government attorneys Tuesday that he believes 22 counts of aggravated identity theft cover the same alleged offense as other charges. He says that must be corrected.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Rushing said he'll file a motion to do so by Friday.

Attorney Mikal Watts is representing himself. He got permission to testify as a narrative, rather than asking himself questions, and to use PowerPoint slides to describing the topics he's addressing.

The trial is scheduled to begin July 18 and is expected to take six to 10 weeks.