Blankenship found guilty on one federal conspiracy charge

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 3, 2015

CHARLESTON – Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was found guilty Dec. 3 on one federal misdemeanor charge of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards.

The jury found Blankenship, 65, not guilty of securities fraud and not guilty of making false statements after the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in Raleigh County that left 29 miners dead in 2010. Both of those charges were felonies.

He faces up to one year in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger released Blankenship on bond despite a move by federal prosecutors to have him held until sentencing.

An eight-woman and four-men jury listened to testimony for 24 days, and they deliberated for 10 days before coming back with the verdict.

Federal prosecutors claimed Blankenship knew about numerous safety law violations at the mine and should have prevented them.

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