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Judge chides defense for contacting jurors

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NEW ORLEANS (KNOE 8 News/AP) - A federal judge has ordered lawyers for a former BP engineer to refrain from having any more contact with jurors who convicted their client of trying to obstruct a federal probe of the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Kurt Mix's attorneys have said they interviewed some jurors after the Dec. 18 verdict and found evidence of juror misconduct that warrants a new trial.

In Thursday's order, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said he is concerned about the "appropriateness" of lawyers interviewing jurors without his permission. Duval instructed Mix's attorneys and Justice Department prosecutors to submit briefs on whether the defense lawyers' contact with jurors should affect their motion for a new trial.

Mix faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison following his conviction.

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