The Source: Mikal Watts Talks Indictment, Vindication And 'The Trial Of His Life'
A prominent San Antonio personal injury lawyer came out on top this August after a federal jury acquitted him of 66 charges of conspiring to commit fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and aggravated identity theft.
Mikal Watts and six co-defendants were accused of falsifying claims for individuals who suffered financial losses related to British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 – called the worst environmental disaster in American history.
In what was considered a risky move, Watts chose to represent himself in the Gulfport, Mississippi-based federal trial. After five weeks of proceedings he was found not guilty of all charges.
Two individuals had been paid to find clients with claims of harm and were convicted of creating bogus plaintiffs listed as part of a $2.3 million settlement Watts' firm reached with BP. The indictment alleged that some of the fabricated victims were either dead or didn't exist, while others hadn't agreed to Watts' representation, and in one case, a dog was named as a plaintiff.
The jury found no evidence Watts or his associates knew the names provided were falsified. Afterward, Watts told AP the case against him "fell apart under its own weight of ridiculousness."
- Mikal Watts, trial lawyer with Watts Guerra LP "who built his career on defending and getting justice for everyday citizens who have been hurt by giant corporations"
- Christian Archer, political strategist "currently taking a break from politics to write a book and direct a documentary about Mikal Watts' trial"