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Ex-Coal CEO Opposes Prosecutor Push for $28 Million Restitution

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert
The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is opposing a prosecution push to make him pay $28 million in restitution to a coal company.

In a Beckley federal court filing Monday, Blankenship's attorneys said he shouldn't have to pay Alpha Natural Resources for legal fees, investigative expenses and fines.

Blankenship was convicted Dec. 3 of a misdemeanor conspiracy to willfully violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine. The southern West Virginia coal mine exploded in April 2010, killing 29 men.

Alpha bought Massey in 2011. Blankenship's attorneys wrote that now-bankrupt Alpha viewed the explosion and investigations as an opportunity to buy Massey at a lower price.

Alpha declined to comment Monday.

Blankenship's attorneys said restitution isn't an option and would complicate and prolong his sentencing, now slated for April 6.

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