Associated Press Published

Gag Order Not Needed if Trial Moved


Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s lawyers say a gag order in his criminal case would be unnecessary if his trial is moved.

They say in a legal brief that polling shows about half of the community in the U.S. District Court’s Beckley Division believes Blankenship is guilty.

Defense lawyers filed the brief this week in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia in response to an appeal regarding the gag order. The brief says the appeals court should allow U.S. District Judge Irene Berger to rule on Blankenship’s motion to move the trial before it acts on the appeal.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.