Attorneys for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship want evidence about the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia kept out of his criminal trial this fall. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the attorneys filed a motion asking a federal judge to instruct jurors that the trial does not concern the explosion that killed 29 miners, its cause, or who was responsible. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the mine from January 2008 until April 2010. The indictment does not specifically allege Blankenship was responsible for the blast. Prosecutors have responded in court documents that evidence about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster is a necessary part of the government’s criminal case against Blankenship, so that jurors can understand how Blankenship allegedly lied to securities regulators and to investors about the company’s safety practices.
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