Associated Press Published

Blankenship's Attorneys Want Explosion Evidence Out of Trial


Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship want evidence about the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine kept out of his criminal trial this fall.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the attorneys filed a motion late Friday asking a federal judge to instruct jurors that the trial does not concern the explosion that killed 29 miners, its cause or who was responsible.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the mine from January 2008 until April 2010, when the explosion tore through the tunnels. The indictment does not specifically allege he was responsible for it.

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