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Prosecutors: Ex-Coal Chief Should be in Prison During Appeal

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Prosecutors are urging a federal appeals court not to allow former coal company executive Don Blankenship to remain free while the court considers an appeal.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that government lawyers say allowing the ex-Massey Energy CEO to continue his $1 million bail would be contrary to federal law. They say the law allows appeals to delay jail sentences only in "exceptional circumstances." Blankenship is scheduled to report to prison May 12.

He was sentenced April 6 to a year in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.

The coal mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Blankenship's attorneys say he could serve much, or all, of his sentence before a decision is reached.

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