Ashton Marra Published

Blankenship on Trial: The Prosecution Rests. Almost.

Don Blankenship

After 31 days of presenting witness testimony and hundreds of pieces of evidence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was set to rest its case Thursday against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. That was, until a motion from the defense to allow them to use a government witness to bring in more evidence threw the prosecution, once again, off course. 

In this week’s podcast, host Scott Finn discusses that motion with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam as well as the government’s arguments surrounding a 2010 Massey Securities Exchange Commission filing and defense motions for acquittal.

Defense Attorney Bill Taylor is attempting to use excerpts of phone conversations Blankenship himself recorded during his time as Massey’s top official, phone conversations that were previously used by the prosecution to further their case, but those phone calls must be authenticated and brought in under the government’s final witness, FBI Special Agent Jim Lafferty, who took the stand Tuesday. 

Thursday, the defense also argued a motion for acquittal in the case, claiming the government had not provided sufficient evidence to prove any of the charges against Blankenship beyond a reasonable doubt.