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UPDATE: Federal judge refuses to toss out Don Blankenship's conviction

(WTAP)
Published: Nov. 17, 2018 at 4:42 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/16/2020

A federal judge in West Virginia has refused to toss the misdemeanor conviction of former coal CEO Don Blankenship for conspiring to violate mine safety laws.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley issued the ruling Wednesday, rejecting a recommendation from a federal magistrate judge.

Berger ruled that despite the prosecution's failure to disclose numerous documents to the defense during the discovery phase of Blankenship's trial, the conduct resulted in no prejudice toward him. Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy.

The company owned a mine where a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers in southern West Virginia. Blankenship spent a year in federal prison.

UPDATE 8/26/2019 9:27 P.M.

A federal magistrate judge has recommended tossing former coal CEO Don Blankenship's misdemeanor conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety laws.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhson wrote Monday that Blankenship's rights were violated under the Brady rule, which says suppression of evidence favorable to the accused violates due process.

He recommended that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger, who presided over Blankenship's 2015 trial, throw out the conviction.

At issue were documents that Blankenship said were not disclosed to him and his attorneys during his trial's discovery phase.

Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, which owned a mine where a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers. He spent a year in federal prison.

His conviction was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a further appeal.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


ORIGINAL 11/17/2018 4:45 P.M.

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

According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, prosecutors argued Friday Blankenship has not proved information was withheld from his 2015 trial and opposed Blankenship's request for an evidentiary hearing to have his conviction thrown out.

The 40-page legal brief is the first public response from the DOJ since Blankenship first asked for his conviction be vacated earlier this year.

Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, which owned a mine where a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers. He spent a year in federal prison for safety violations related to the explosion.

His conviction was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a further appeal.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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