Massey Energy

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A federal judge Monday entered an order recommending former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's conviction for his role in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion be set aside.

Blankenship served a one-year prison sentence for a misdemeanor charge for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. The April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 men.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice says a federal court should not overturn the conviction of former coal baron Don Blankenship.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are seeking to erase his misdemeanor conviction related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades. A former lead prosecutor called it a desperate act.

A motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston claims federal prosecutors withheld information that would have assisted in Blankenship's defense at his lengthy 2015 trial. It said the government produced reports and other information after the trial's completion.

AP Photo

Convicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship claims documents that would have assisted his defense weren't made available to his attorneys before his trial and he's asking a federal court to vacate his misdemeanor conviction.

Blankenship made the claim in a news release through his U.S. Senate campaign to announce a planned motion to vacate the conviction. No motion was listed on a federal court website Tuesday night.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship have made a last pitch to the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out his conviction connected to a 2010 West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 miners.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his conviction for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010.

Blankenship, who recently finished a one-year prison term, asked the top court Thursday review his conviction, which a federal appeals court upheld in January.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is finishing up a one-year federal prison sentence arising from the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website, Blankenship was set to be released Wednesday from a halfway house in Phoenix, Arizona. He must serve one year of supervised release.

UBB Mine Disaster
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On April 5, 2010, the day after Easter, a series of explosions rocked the Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal in Raleigh County.

Twenty-nine men died, making it West Virginia’s worst mining disaster since 78 miners were killed at Farmington in 1968.

After the Upper Big Branch explosion, an independent investigation determined that sparks from a longwall miner had ignited a pocket of methane, setting off a chain of explosions that surged more than two miles through the mine.

Don Blankenship
Chris Tilley / AP Photo

Attorneys for Don Blankenship are seeking more time to file a petition for a rehearing in order to consult with the convicted former Massey Energy CEO in prison.

Blankenship's attorneys filed a brief Wednesday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The court last week affirmed Blankenship's conviction in connection with the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades.

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

A panel of appellate judges has affirmed a ruling that sent former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to prison.  The decision means he’ll serve out the remainder of his one-year prison term in a California penitentiary. 

Flood, Clendenin
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A National Weather Service meteorologist called it a "1-in-1,000-year" storm. By the time it was over, 23 West Virginians were dead.

Flooding that ravaged the state in late June was voted the No. 1 news story in 2016 in West Virginia by Associated Press member newspapers and broadcasters.

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are hoping to convince an appeals court their client was wrongly sent to prison.

Blankenship ran the coal company that owned West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine, where a 2010 explosion killed 29 men. He's currently serving a one-year sentence after being convicted of conspiracy for what prosecutors call a series of willful safety violations at the company.

Don Blankenship
Chris Tilley / AP Photo

Federal prosecutors say the only thing novel about ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's conviction was that it targeted a major company's CEO, not low-ranking miners.

Prosecutors defended Blankenship's conviction in a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals filing Monday.

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawyers for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are arguing that his conviction related to the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades should be reversed, saying the government's prosecution theory and proof fell short.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Blankenship's legal team filed a 94-page opening brief Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief urges "close appellate scrutiny" of Blankenship's conviction and complains that the jury pool was biased against him, the prosecution was politically motivated and the trial controlled by rulings unfair to the defense.

Blankenship
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Former coal company chief Don Blankenship is appealing a case that resulted in a one-year prison sentence.

In U.S. District Court in Beckley on Thursday, the ex-Massey Energy CEO filed his notice of appeal to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Prosecutors want a year in prison and a $250,000 fine for convicted ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who ran a West Virginia coal mine that was the site of a deadly explosion.

In a sentencing memorandum in federal court Monday, prosecutors said a shorter sentence could only be interpreted as declaring that mine safety laws aren't to be taken seriously.

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are asking a federal judge to either delay his April sentencing or put off deciding the amount of a federal fine. 

In December, Blankenship was found guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws linked to a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men.  Blankenship could face up to a year in prison for the charge. 

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Some 24 hours after a verdict was handed down in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said he is not disappointed in the outcome. In fact, he's calling the conviction on one misdemeanor count a victory.

After the announcement of the final verdict in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, jurors were escorted from the courthouse through a backdoor. A few spoke with members of the media about their decision and what they experienced during the 10 days of deliberations.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Jurors returned a split verdict Thursday in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship finding him guilty on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. 

In the final episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the verdict, its implications and what comes next with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

A former high-ranking Massey Energy official has taken the stand in the trial of former company CEO Don Blankenship.

John Poma was vice president and chief administrative officer at Massey Energy when the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia exploded in April 2010, killing 29 men.

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. 

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.

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.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

“We can’t outrun this bear.” “Without MSHA we would blow ourselves up.” “I have to get one thousand people off the payroll.” These are all statements jurors in Charleston listened to Don Blankenship make during phone conversations he recorded in his Belfry, Kentucky, office in the few years before the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

The ex-Massey Energy CEO is charged with conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and lying to investors about the company’s safety record after the 2010 explosion that killed 29 men. Those secret recordings are now being used by federal prosecutors to make a case against him. 

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.

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.

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.

AP Photo

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

7:10 p.m.

The third day of jury selection wrapped Monday evening just before 5 p.m. in a Charleston federal courtroom. 

According to court documents, 13 jurors were excused from the jury pool. There is no indication in the document how many total jurors were questioned or how many were chosen to remain in the jury pool. 

In a court transcript, Judge Irene Berger said last week she was looking for 35 jurors for the smaller pool from the larger pool of 300 jurors who received questionnaires earlier this year.

From that 35, attorneys from both sides will be able to disqualify a number of jurors without question.  The judge is looking for a jury of 12 with 2-3 alternates.

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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