Ashton Marra Published

Media Outlets Challenge Gag Order in Blankenship Case


The Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting joined four other news outlets challenging a judge’s gag order in a former West Virginia coal executive’s criminal case. 

The motion was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Beckley by The Associated Press, The Charleston Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Media members asked Judge Irene Berger to drop or modify her order in the case of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Blankenship is accused of conspiring to violate safety and health standards at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. A 2010 explosion there killed 29 men.

Berger’s order says parties or victims cannot discuss the case with the media or release court documents.

The motion says Berger offered no information supporting why a jury wouldn’t be fair and impartial without the restrictions.