Don Blankenship

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A 32-year Mine Safety and Health Administration official turned Massey Energy mine planning and safety specialist testified the company had a reputation of defiance when it came to following mine safety regulations. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal judge has denied a motion made by defense attorneys Friday to again question a government witness in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Blankenship's lead attorney, Bill Taylor, made the motion to re-cross examine former Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard after he said extensive new evidence was entered by the prosecution during his redirect. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The prosecution wrapped their redirect examination of former Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard late Friday afternoon, but the unconventional witness may not be done on the stand just yet. Defense attorneys Friday moved to “take another crack” at Blanchard.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a week on the stand and nearly five days of cross examination by the defense, prosecutors are attempting to save their case set off track by former Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard. In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Dave Mistich discusses Blanchard's testimony with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam. 

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Prosecutors are dissecting a key government witness' testimony that helped ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's attorneys argue his company prioritized safety.

In federal court Thursday, the prosecution questioned former Massey subsidiary president Christopher Blanchard, who told the defense he didn't break any laws or conspire with Blankenship to break laws.

Jeff Pierson

As defense attorneys continued their fourth day of cross examining a government witness, a federal judge has once again ruled to exclude defense presented evidence from the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship. 

Blankenship's lead attorney, Bill Taylor ad attempted to enter videos of a 2009 Massey safety meeting as evidence in his cross examination of former Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard. 

Jeff Pierson

In his third day in the witness seat, former Marfork and Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard continued to answer questions about safety priorities at Massey Energy.

Blanchard is testifying in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship who faces charges for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and lying to investors and securities officials. 

Blanchard's coal group oversaw production at the Upper Big Branch mine. 

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

A key government witness continued testifying that his old boss, ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, was a micromanager who prioritized profits over safety leading up to a deadly 2010 mine explosion.

Ex-Performance Coal President Christopher Blanchard returned to the stand Friday in Charleston. Performance Coal was the Massey subsidiary overseeing Upper Big Branch Mine.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this week's episode of "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the latest witness to take the stand, Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard, with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam. 

A key government witness is testifying in the criminal trial of his old boss, ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

The witness is ex-Performance Coal President Christopher Blanchard. Performance Coal was a subsidiary of Massey Energy.

Jessica Lilly

Prosecutors continued to call witnesses on the tenth day of the trial against former Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship. Prosecutor Steve Ruby picked back up with questioning of Mine Safety and Health inspector Keith McElroy. McElroy was one of the investigators of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion that killed 29 men.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

An outspoken critic of President Barack Obama charged with conspiring to violate mine safety rules before a deadly explosion is under orders not to tell jurors he's being persecuted by Democrats.

Stanley "Goose" Stewart
Jeff Pierson

Stanley “Goose” Stewart worked as an underground miner for Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch mine for 15 years and in all of those years, Stewart said production came first, no matter what the conditions were underground.

“There was an element of fear, intimidation and propaganda working there,” Stewart said in Charleston federal court Tuesday. “We knew if we didn’t [produce], we would be fired, or they would harass you until you quit.”

Stewart was called by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to testify in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship. 

Jurors continued to hear testimony Monday from former employees of Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch mine who claim production was the top priority for the company. The testimony comes in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

Former UBB section boss Rick "Smurf" Hutchens testified he often took time away from coal production, directing his men to perform safety related tasks like clearing loose coal or spreading rock dust on the roof, walls and floor of the mine. 

Photo: AP Photo / Jeff Gentner / Photo Illustration: Dave Mistich

As former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship stands trial in Charleston, federal prosecutors continue to present evidence that he conspired to violate federal mine safety standards leading up to the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine.

Joel Ebert / Charleston Gazette-Mail

A former coal executive who was sentenced to prison for mine violations testified that Massey Energy sometimes took shortcuts to produce coal under his old boss, ex-CEO Don Blankenship.

Ex-Massey executive David Hughart finished testifying in Blankenship's trial in Charleston federal court Friday.

Joel Ebert / Charleston Gazette-Mail

In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first major witness to take the stand- former Massey Energy executive David Hughart- with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

AP Photo

A former coal executive who was dealt a prison sentence for mine violations is testifying in the criminal trial for his old boss, ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, former Massey executive David Hughart began testifying as part of a plea deal.

Jeff Pierson

A federal judge reversed a previous ruling Wednesday, admitting new documents into the case of ex-Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

AP Photo

In ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's criminal trial, prosecutors have started replaying phone calls that the executive secretly recorded in his office.

  On this West Virginia Morning, we get an update on the trial of Don Blankenship, including testimony from former coal miner Bobbie Pauley. Beth Vorhees also speaks with West Virginia University journalism professor John Temple about his new book American Pain. Also, JD Souther recruits Nellie McKay for a cover of Cole Porter's "Everytime We Say Goodbye."

Don Blankenship's attorney Bill Taylor
Jeff Pierson

In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first full week of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Exhibit 1, Coal Seam Diagram
U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of West Virginia

Federal prosecutors in the case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship have begun to release exhibits introduced as evidence in the trial. Attorney Booth Goodwin and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia began uploading the exhibits Thursday to a page on the office's website. 

The exhibits entered as evidence include diagrams of coal mines, videos of mining equipment used in the process, animations of mine ventilation systems and federal Mine Safety and Health Administration standards, among others. 

Jeff Pierson

Money. That’s what both sides arguing the case of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship say his trial boils down to.

For the prosecution, Blankenship employed a top-down leadership style that protected his own financial interests - both his $12 million annual salary and his substantial stock holdings in Massey.

For the defense, it’s that same money that made him a target.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

A jury has been seated in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.  Twelve jurors and three alternates have been selected to hear the case against Blankenship who is charged with violating federal coal mine safety laws and lying to investors about the company's safety record.

Opening statements by federal prosecutors and defense attorneys are set to begin at 10:20 Wednesday morning.

The first day of jury selection in the trial of Don Blankenship.
Jeff Pierson

The fourth day of jury selection in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship ended behind closed doors Tuesday evening without much explanation of what happened in the two hours both sets of attorneys spent alone with the judge in the courtroom.

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:

9:45 a.m.

Potential jurors have returned to the courtroom for the fourth day of jury selection in the federal criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

In a transcript of proceedings last week, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger said she was seeking 35 prospective jurors.

A memo newly filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office depicts concerns a former Massey Energy employee, and key witness in the prosecution’s case, had over safety within Massey’s mines, warning the company needed to “change the way we do business.”

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Potential jurors have returned to a Charleston courtroom Friday as Federal District Judge Irene Berger continues to try to seat a jury in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

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.

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