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Court Refuses to Toss Ex-Coal CEO Blankenship's Conviction

Coal News - Published on Mon, 20 Jan 2020

Image Source: Don Blankenship
US West Virginia District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley rejected a recommendation from a federal magistrate judge over misdemeanour conviction of former coal CEO Don Blankenship for conspiring to violate mine safety laws. 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 Blankenship. Berger wrote “Blankenship has failed to meet his burden to establish that a reasonable probability exists that the outcome of the trial might have been different had the suppressed evidence been disclosed prior to trial. Specifically, after thorough review, nothing has been presented to undermine confidence in the jury’s verdict.”

Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, which owned a mine where a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers in southern West Virginia. He spent a year in federal prison. His conviction was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court in 2017 declined to consider a further appeal. After Blankenship asked for the conviction to be vacated last year, the US Department of Justice recommended it should not be overturned.

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Posted By : Arun Huidrom on Mon, 20 Jan 2020
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