BECKLEY – Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship filed an emergency motion May 10 asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals court to delay his prison sentence so that the court has more time to decide on one of his earlier motions that he remain out of jail pending a full appeal of his conviction.
The motion was filed two days before the deadline that Blankenship has to surrender himself to federal authorities. Blankenship was ordered to serve his one-year sentence at a facility in California.
The federal appeals court also is already considering his motion to be allowed to remain free on bail while the court decides on his appeal.
The motion states that in view of Blankenship’s prison surrender date, a stay is appropriate.
“Unless the court will resolve the pending motion for release tomorrow, an administrative stay is needed to provide the court with time to rule on the motion and, if the court grants the motion, to preserve the court’s ability to provide full relief,” the May 10 motion states.
The motion states that he was ordered to self-report to the California prison on May 12.
In a response filed later on May 10, federal prosecutors called Blankenship’s request “redundant," saying he already had asked for a stay.
“His latest motion adds nothing except to say that he is set to serve his sentence in California,” that response said. “Since defendant has consistently asserted in the district court that he now resides in Nevada, the fact that he is to report in California should pose no special difficulty.”
On April 6, District Judge Irene Berger sentenced Blankenship to serve one year in prison and pay $250,000 in fines. He was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards at Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners died in an explosion in 2010.
Blankenship was also ordered to spend one year on supervised release after his time in prison. His federal trial lasted two months, and a federal jury convicted him on Dec. 3.