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Blankenship on Trial

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On April 5, 2010, 29 men were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Federal regulators say a history of unsafe practices led to the explosion and prosecutors are now trying to prove that culture at Massey Energy came from the top down, starting with former CEO Don Blankenship. These are the stories as they are told in the courtroom, the evidence as presented by both sides and the community's reactions to the trial of Don Blankenship.

On April 5, 2010, 29 men were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Federal regulators say a history of unsafe practices led to the explosion and prosecutors are now trying to prove that culture at Massey Energy came from the top down, starting with former CEO Don Blankenship. These are the stories as they are told in the courtroom, the evidence as presented by both sides and the community's reactions to the trial of Don Blankenship.
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On April 5, 2010, 29 men were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Federal regulators say a history of unsafe practices led to the explosion and prosecutors are now trying to prove that culture at Massey Energy came from the top down, starting with former CEO Don Blankenship. These are the stories as they are told in the courtroom, the evidence as presented by both sides and the community's reactions to the trial of Don Blankenship.

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English


Episodes

Blankenship on Trial: A Max Sentence

4/6/2016
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Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship received the maximum sentence for his misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. His sentence- one year in prison and a $250,000 fine- was the maximum that could be order by a federal judge. In this episode of Blankenship on Trial, host Scott Finn discuss what it was like both inside and outside the courtroom Wednesday with Ashton Marra, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Assistant News Director, and Mike Hissam, a former...

Duration:00:12:07

Goodwin: 'We Don't Bring Charges We Can't Support'

12/4/2015
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Some 24 hours after a verdict was handed down in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said he is not disappointed in the outcome. In fact, he's calling the conviction on one misdemeanor count a victory.

Duration:00:11:29

Blankenship on Trial: Guilty of Conspiracy

12/3/2015
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Jurors returned a split verdict Thursday in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship finding him guilty on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. In the final episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the verdict, its implications and what comes next with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:22:18

Continued Coverage and Reactions to Blankenship's Split Verdict

11/18/2015
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Editor's Note: This is a developing story. Be sure to keep refreshing this post for the latest. For more, follow @wvpublicnews on Twitter. For more on the verdict, see this post.

Duration:00:05:24

Blankenship on Trial: The Case Goes to the Jury

11/18/2015
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Jurors have begun deliberations in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam detail the closing arguments in the case with host Beth Vorhees in this special episode of the podcast recorded as a part of West Virginia Public Broadcasting's morning news show, West Virginia Morning.

Duration:00:11:15

Blankenship on Trial: Defense Plays Offense, Calls No Witnesses

11/16/2015
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Defense attorneys chose to rest their case Monday morning without calling a single witness to aid in their defense of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. In a special edition of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the surprising turn of events with reporter Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:05:00

Updated: Blankenship Defense Rests Without Calling a Single Witness

11/16/2015
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Jurors in the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship will soon be asked to deliver a verdict. At 10:10 a.m. Monday, the prosecution rested its case. In a surprising move just moments after a bench conference, the defense also rested without calling any witnesses to the stand.

Duration:00:03:44

Blankenship on Trial: The Prosecution Rests. Almost.

11/12/2015
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After 31 days of presenting witness testimony and hundreds of pieces of evidence, the U.S. Attorney's Office was set to rest its case Thursday against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. That was, until a motion from the defense to allow them to use a government witness to bring in more evidence threw the prosecution, once again, off course. In this week's podcast, host Scott Finn discusses that motion with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S....

Duration:00:17:20

Blankenship on Trial: Massey's Supposed Whistleblower Bill Ross

11/5/2015
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The sixth full week of the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been almost exclusively focused on Bill Ross, a key witness for the prosecution.

Duration:00:13:57

Blankenship on Trial: Prosecution Attempts to Get Blanchard Back on Track

10/29/2015
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After a week on the stand and nearly five days of cross examination by the defense, prosecutors are attempting to save their case set off track by former Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard. In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Dave Mistich discusses Blanchard's testimony with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:08:20

Blanchard Discusses Violations, Safety Actions During Cross Examination

10/26/2015
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In his third day in the witness seat, former Marfork and Performance Coal President Chris Blanchard continued to answer questions about safety priorities at Massey Energy. Blanchard is testifying in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship who faces charges for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and lying to investors and securities officials. Blanchard's coal group oversaw production at the Upper Big Branch mine.

Duration:00:01:55

Blankenship on Trial: Prosecution Begins Connecting the Dots

10/22/2015
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In this week's episode of "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the latest witness to take the stand, Performance Coal President and Upper Big Branch mine operator Chris Blanchard, with West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:15:18

Blankenship on Trial: Former Massey Executive Takes the Stand

10/15/2015
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In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first major witness to take the stand- former Massey Energy executive David Hughart- with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:21:36

Phone Recordings Continued to be Played at Blankenship Trial

10/14/2015
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On West Virginia Morning, more recordings made by ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are played for jurors in his trial on conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. Also, officials in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania sign a natural gas production pact. These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Duration:00:09:28

Secretly Recorded Calls Subject of Blankenship Trial Tuesday

10/13/2015
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“We can’t outrun this bear.” “Without MSHA we would blow ourselves up.” “I have to get one thousand people off the payroll.” These are all statements jurors in Charleston listened to Don Blankenship make during phone conversations he recorded in his Belfry, Kentucky, office in the few years before the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. The ex-Massey Energy CEO is charged with conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and lying to investors about the company’s safety record after the...

Duration:00:05:16

Prosecutors Play Back Ex-Coal CEO's Phone Calls at Trial

10/10/2015
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In ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's criminal trial, prosecutors have started replaying phone calls that the executive secretly recorded in his office.

Duration:00:02:16

Blankenship on Trial: Miner Testimony Sheds Light on Conditions at UBB

10/8/2015
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In this week's episode of the podcast "Blankenship on Trial," host Scott Finn discusses the first full week of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial with reporter Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam.

Duration:00:17:04

Money, Safety Violations Focus of Opening Arguments in Blankenship Trial

10/7/2015
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Money. That’s what both sides arguing the case of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship say his trial boils down to. For the prosecution, Blankenship employed a top-down leadership style that protected his own financial interests - both his $12 million annual salary and his substantial stock holdings in Massey. For the defense, it’s that same money that made him a target.

Duration:00:03:00

Listen to the Latest from the Blankenship Trial

10/7/2015
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On West Virginia Morning the latest from the trial of Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy. We'll talk with reporter Ashton Marra who has been sitting with other reporters in a separate courtroom from the proceedings and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam . That's on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting - telling West Virginia's story.

Duration:00:06:33

Blankenship on Trial: Frustration over Jury Selection

10/1/2015
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Host Scott Finn discusses the first day of jury selection in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship with reporter Ashton Marra. They talk about the lack of access to the courtroom for both members of the media and family members of those who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Charleston Gazette-Mail's David Gutman discusses Blankenship's political influence in the West Virginia. Ten years ago, Blankenship attempted to bankroll the Republican Party to move his...

Duration:00:16:45