GULFPORT, Miss. – The Latest on the Gulf oil spill identity fraud trial of a Texas lawyer and six co-defendants (all times local):
A Texas lawyer and six co-defendants are now facing 73 charges instead of 95 charges in a case of alleged identity document fraud.
Online court records show prosecutors dropped 22 counts of identity document fraud before jury selection began Monday in federal court in Gulfport.
Judge Louis Guirola Jr. had said earlier that those appeared to be the same alleged offenses as 22 counts of aggravated identity theft.
Attorney Mikal Watts of San Antonio, Texas, and the others are accused of helping to inflate his client list for BP oil spill litigation. Prosecutors say they invented victims or used real people’s names without permission to land Watts a spot on the lucrative BP litigation steering committee and inflate any legal fees he might collect
Guirola has said the trial is expected to take six to 10 weeks.
Jury selection is set to begin for the federal trial of a San Antonio, Texas, attorney and six others accused of helping to inflate his client list for BP oil spill litigation.
Mikal Watts, two non-attorney members of his law firm and four contract workers are going on trial Monday in federal court in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Judge Louis Guirola Jr. has said that the trial is expected to take six to 10 weeks. But he’s planned a short first day in court for 70 to 80 prospective jurors. They’ll fill out a questionnaire and then get the rest of the day off while government and defense lawyers review the questionnaires. Attorneys have said that should help them seat a jury as quickly as possible.