MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Coal criminal is running for US White House!

Published by MAC on 2020-11-06
Source: Bloomberg, Wvpublic.org

Don Blankenship.

A federal judge denied early this year a request by former Massey Energy CEO and Constitution Party presidential candidate to overturn his criminal conviction for the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.

See also:
 
2018-01-23 Coal criminal is running for US Senate!
2016-09-09 USA: Widows and children seeks justice for Farmington mine disaster
2016-04-07 USA: Blankenship gets only a year's gaol for coal crimes
2015-12-05 A US travesty of justice: Coal Don found guilty of mere "misdemeanour" 
2010-05-07 Massey stocks plummet on criminal probe news
2008-05-05 Massey's massive coal play
2006-10-28 Coal magnate trying to fire up GOP support
 

Coal Baron Don Blankenship May Boost Biden’s Prospects in Nevada

Will Wade

Bloomberg https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/coal-baron-blankenship-may-boost-biden-s-prospects-in-nevada

November 6, 2020

Coal baron and ex-convict Don Blankenship may be helping Joe Biden’s electoral prospects in the key battleground state of Nevada. The former chief executive officer of coal miner Massey Energy Co. has won about 0.2% of votes in Nevada, or about 2,578. That won’t get him anywhere near the White House, but it may have chipped away at President Donald Trump’s support in the state where Democratic nominee Joe Biden is holding a slim lead of fewer than 12,000 votes.

Blankenship, running as a Constitution Party candidate, has positioned himself as a staunch conservative, in favor of states’ rights to govern themselves instead of the federal government. He’s called for limiting national oversight over natural resources and for the eradication of numerous agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency -- positions likely to have strong appeal to the coal industry.

Blankenship served a year in federal prison for conspiring to evade safety laws in the lead-up to a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. This isn’t his first political campaign. He sought a seat in the U.S. Senate representing West Virginia in 2018, but after losing out in the Republican primaries the state supreme court rejected his effort to get on the ballot for the Constitution Party.



Judge Denies Ex-Coal CEO Blankenship’s Request To Overturn Conviction

Brittany Patterson
 
West Virginia Public Broadcasting https://www.wvpublic.org/news/2020-01-15/judge-denies-ex-coal-ceo-blankenships-request-to-overturn-conviction

January 15, 2020

A federal judge has denied a request by former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to overturn his criminal conviction for his role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia Irene Berger denied Blankenship’s request to set asside his conviction for his role in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion be set aside.

Blankenship served a one-year prison sentence for a misdemeanor charge for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. The April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 men.

Blankenship was seeking the reversal of his conviction because attorneys for the U.S. government failed to hand over documents, including emails and records related to federal Mine Health and Safety Administration, or MSHA, employees. His attorneys argued that could have exonerated the former CEO.

In August, Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhosn agreed with Blankenship’s arguments and recommended his conviction be reversed.

Berger disagreed. In her 37-page ruling, she wrote that she agreed that federal prosecutors erred when they failed to turn over documents prior to Blankenship’s trial.

“The sheer number of undisclosed documents is troubling,” Berger said.

But, she said, ultimately that was not enough to reverse his conviction, writing “there is clear precedent that guides the analysis and dictates the ultimate resolution in this matter.”

Blankenship can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A request for comment was not immediately returned.
 
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