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Jury Selection Resumes on Day 2 of Don Blankenship Trial

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The latest developments in the federal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. All times are local:

2:05 p.m.

The judge in the case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship said she would require exhibits used in the trial to be available for the media the next day.

In a transcript of Thursday's court session, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger said she will require prosecutors and defense attorneys to make exhibits publicly available for the media by 9 a.m. the day after they were presented in court. She said it follows a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail and West Virginia Public Broadcasting Inc. filed a motion Wednesday looking to ensure open access to exhibits and to jury selection.

Berger has not made a former order yet on the request.


1:15 p.m.

A transcript of jury selection proceedings shows how some prospective jurors answered questions about former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

In the transcript of Thursday's court session, one person who called Blankenship a "scapegoat" was excused. Another was dismissed after saying nothing she read painted Blankenship in a good light.

A possible juror who wasn't dismissed Thursday said she recalled nothing about the Upper Big Branch Mine, where an explosion killed 29 men in 2010. Another person who wasn't dismissed said she remembered hearing about an explosion or something, but didn't know who Blankenship was.

Previously, Judge Irene Berger told the court reporter not to release the transcript. It was viewable at a courthouse public terminal Friday before access was restricted.

Prospective jurors were on break until 1:30 p.m.

9:45 a.m.

Potential jurors are back in the courtroom for the second day of jury selection in the federal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

They joined federal prosecutors and Blankenship's attorneys in the courtroom Friday before U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Charleston.

The public, including reporters, watched the proceedings from a live closed-circuit television feed from another room.

At one point, Blankenship could be seen listening in at the judge's bench when Berger was talking to a prospective juror.

According to a filing in federal court, 88 potential jurors were brought in Thursday. Of those, 42 were excused.


8:30 a.m.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has arrived for the second day of jury selection at his federal trial.

Blankenship smiled but didn't answer when a reporter talked to him upon arriving Friday outside U.S. District Court in Charleston. One of Blankenship's attorneys said he wasn't taking questions.

The 65-year-old Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break safety laws and lying to financial regulators about safety practices at the Upper Big Branch Mine.

Blankenship faces up to three decades in prison if convicted over how he ran the mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners.

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