Supreme Court re­jects Blanken­ship’s ap­peal

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS -

The U.S. Supreme Court is leav­ing in place the con­vic­tion of ex-Massey En­ergy CEO Don Blanken­ship for mis­de­meanor con­spir­acy to vi­o­late fed­eral safety stan­dards at a West Vir­ginia mine where 29 min­ers died in 2010.

The court de­clined this week to take up Blanken­ship’s case. Blanken­ship, who re­cently fin­ished a one-year prison term, had asked the court to re­view his con­vic­tion, which a fed­eral ap­peals court up­held in Jan­uary.

Blanken­ship had said he’s “more than 100 per­cent in­no­cent” and the case was colored by emo­tion and pub­lic­ity.

He says nat­u­ral gas caused the ex­plo­sion at the for­mer Rich­mond­based Massey En­ergy’s Up­per Big Branch Mine in West Vir­ginia and that the trial judge erred in in­struct­ing the jury and lim­it­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion.

Four in­ves­ti­ga­tions found worn and bro­ken cut­ting equip­ment cre­ated a spark that ig­nited ac­cu­mu­la­tions of coal dust and meth­ane gas.

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