Associated Press Published

Lawyers for Former Massey CEO Files Appeals Brief

Don Blankenship

Lawyers for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are arguing that his conviction related to the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades should be reversed, saying the government’s prosecution theory and proof fell short.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Blankenship’s legal team filed a 94-page opening brief Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief urges “close appellate scrutiny” of Blankenship’s conviction and complains that the jury pool was biased against him, the prosecution was politically motivated and the trial controlled by rulings unfair to the defense.

Blankenship reported to a California prison May 12 to begin serving a one-year sentence for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch coal mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.