NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Three Justice Department prosecutors have asked to withdraw from the case against a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday's request to withdraw Derek Cohen, Avi Gesser and Scott Cullen from the prosecution of Kurt Mix was a "staffing adjustment" that shouldn't affect trial preparations.

Mix's trial is scheduled to start on Dec. 2. The Katy, Texas, resident pleaded not guilty last year to two counts of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors claim Mix deliberately deleted text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor to prevent them from being used in a grand jury's probe of the spill.

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