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Rig Manager Pleads Guilty to Lying about Tests

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 6:01am

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Mississippi man who worked as manager on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has pleaded guilty to lying about testing on a key safety device.

Forty-nine-year-old Donald Hudson, of Walnut Grove, Miss., faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison following his guilty plea Thursday to making a false statement in March 2011 to the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General about testing of the rig's blowout preventer.

Hudson worked for Helmerich & Payne Inc., which operated Rig 206 off the coast of Louisiana.

Federal prosecutors say Hudson instructed workers to falsify tests by closing valves on the blowout preventer's choke manifold, which is designed to control flow from the well during pressure spikes.

His sentencing is set for Aug. 8.

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