Coal industry groups from three states are arguing that the conviction of former coal executive Don Blankenship could unfairly expose other industry leaders to criminal conspiracy charges. The Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia Coal Associations detailed these concerns in a brief with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering Blankenship’s appeal. The industry groups stated their reason for filing, saying that they “cannot sit idly by and allow the expansion of criminal law to the point that mere involvement of company management in certain affairs can serve as a basis, in whole or in part, for criminal prosecution,” according to an Insurance Journal report. The brief also insists that the groups are not taking sides in the Blankenship case, nor do they sanction his conduct, which led to one of the deadliest mine explosions U.S. history.
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