Feb 7, 2012 7:12 AM by AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has set aside nearly seven hours for opening statements in a trial over the deadly rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that resulted in the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
Monday's order by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier divides up 400 minutes of opening statements by lawyers for the plaintiffs, government entities and companies involved in the trial scheduled to start Feb. 27.
Plaintiffs' attorneys will go first and get 75 minutes to speak.
BP PLC, owner of the blown-out well, gets 90 minutes. Rig owner Transocean Ltd. and cement contractor Halliburton each get an hour.
Barbier gave the federal government 45 minutes and allocated 20 minutes for state governments.
The remaining 50 minutes will be split by other companies sued over the 2010 disaster.