Ashton Marra Published

Judge Orders Hearing on Motion to Lift Gag Order


The judge in Don Blankenship’s case has scheduled a hearing after the former Massey CEO responded Thursday to a request by several news outlets to lift a gag order. 
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger issued the order Thursday evening scheduling a hearing on the motion to lift the gag order.

That motion was filed by the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, The Charleston Gazette, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio Nov. 14.

Blankenship was indicted in November on charges that he willfully violated federal mine, safety and health regulations. Those regulations were meant to control coal dust in mines. 
Prosecutors say his violations lead to the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, killing 29 men.

Shortly after his indictment, Judge Berger issued a gag order in the case forbidding Blankenship, his attorneys, prosecutors and any family member from speaking with the media about the proceedings. The order also sealed all court documents in the case.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 17, at 10 a.m. in Beckley.