This morning, CBS News' chief legal correspondent, Jan Crawford, said on the Early Show that Holder clearly has BP in his crosshairs--and BP's brass could potentially face a world of legal hurt depending on what the federal criminal probe into Oilmageddon digs up.
Crawford says that some of the potential charges are really easy to prove in court--for instance, BP could get racked up if a bird gets oil on it.
However, Crawford said, the traditional criminal charges should have BP's execs really worried.
"That's where you get some of the more serious criminal penalties, like obstruction of justice, conspiracy, fraud," Crawford said. "If BP, or executives made false statements, and several senators already have accused BP of making false statements, not only in getting the permits to dig that well, but also in kind of underplaying the gravity of the spill."
I don't know if downplaying the gravity of the spill is a criminal offense, but otherwise Crawford is dead on.
Crawford also thinks that BP could face state charges, especially given the number of states impacted.
"I expect that you'll see similar efforts to coordinate this, similar efforts to consolidate all these investigations and similar efforts to kind of spread out the payment at the end of the day... to the states and the people who are hurt the most," Crawford said.
I know it's early. But I find it hard to believe that somebody--and not just middle managers--isn't going to end up in an orange jumpsuit. You don't commit federal resources to investigating a major multinational corporation--especially one with the resources to fight charges in court--unless you've got something.