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Lawyer in BP settlement case resigns

NEW ORLEANS — A lawyer working for the administrator overseeing a multibillion-dollar settlement from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf resigned Friday after he was accused of misconduct.

Lionel H. Sutton III resigned Friday morning, said Nick Gagliano, a spokesman for court-appointed administrator Patrick Juneau .

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Sutton has been accused of collecting portions of settlement payments from a New Orleans law firm to which he had referred claims, a BP PLC official who reviewed a report outlining the allegations said.

Gagliano did not elaborate on Sutton’s reasons for resigning and said that Juneau would not be commenting beyond a statement issued earlier in which he pledged to thoroughly investigate. Both BP and claimants ‘‘expect fairness and objectivity from this claims process,’’ Juneau wrote.

The BP official said the report indicates that Juneau’s security head, David Welker, also notified the FBI’s New Orleans division about the lawyer’s alleged misconduct. Welker until recently was the special agent in charge of the FBI office in New Orleans.

The report says Welker received a complaint that Sutton had referred claims to a New Orleans law firm in exchange for portions of subsequent settlement payments, the BP official said. The lawyer allegedly filed those claims before he went to work for Juneau.

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