Exxon pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to four misdemeanors stemming from the 1989 Prince William Sound oil spill, but the judge said he wanted to hear what victims thought of the plea bargain before he would accept it.

"Exxon pleads guilty, Your Honor," said Lawrence Rawl, chairman and chief executive officer of the Exxon Corp., who personally appeared in court to plead guilty to one charge as part of the plea bargain with the Justice Department.Exxon Shipping Co. President Gus Elmer said, "Guilty, Your Honor," three times when asked how his company pleaded to three charges stemming from the 11 million-gallon spill that occurred two years ago Sunday.

Judge H. Russel Holland told a packed courtroom that also included Exxon Corp. President Lee Raymond and dozens of lawyers with pending civil suits against Exxon that he wanted public comment, especially from victims of the spill, before accepting the Exxon plea bargain and pronouncing sentence.

"If I reject the plea agreement, Exxon will be entitled to withdraw from this plea agreement and we will simply start over," Holland said, accepting Exxon's change of plea from not guilty to guilty but stopping short of accepting the comprehensive plea bargain that calls for a $100 million sentence.