Supreme Court tells Blakenship 'no,' conviction stands

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is leaving in place the conviction of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010.

The court declined Tuesday to take up Blankenship’s case. Blankenship, who recently finished a one-year prison term, had asked the court to review his conviction, which a federal appeals court upheld in January.

Blankenship had said he’s “more than 100 percent innocent” and the case was colored by emotion and publicity. He says natural gas caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, and the trial judge erred in instructing the jury and limiting cross-examination.

Four investigations found worn and broken cutting equipment created a spark that ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas.

Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ announcement regarding his appeal.

“The Supreme Court not agreeing to hear my case came as no surprise. Our Court system is so tangled up trying to decide whether illegal is illegal and whether males can use female public restrooms that they have no time to concern themselves with whether American citizens have received a fair trial. The judicial system is broken top to bottom and it’s not fixable,” said Blankenship.

Blankenship concluded, “However the wrong done to me pales in comparison to the wrong done to the deceased coal miners and their families. My focus has and will remain on exposing Obama’s deadliest coverup. Twenty-nine Americans died because of the government and yet our government falsely accused the dead miners of killing themselves. Only low-life bureaucrats and selfish career politicians would conspire against dead miners. Miners that are not here to defend themselves against the likes of Senator Manchin, a man who believes in declaring Americans guilty before their trial and wants them to disappear after a fake trial.”

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“I join with the families of the 29 victims of the Upper Big Branch disaster, as well as the families of the other 25 people killed on Massey Energy property while Don Blankenship was CEO of that company, in applauding the Supreme Court’s rejection of Blankenship’s appeal of his federal criminal conviction.

“It’s instructive to look at the record. First, Don’s whack-job theory of what happened at the UBB mine has been deemed false by two state investigations, one federal investigation and one done by the UMWA.

“Second, he has been convicted in federal court of setting up a scheme to circumvent federal mine safety and health law. His appeals have been denied at every judicial level, including now by the Supreme Court. He served an all-too-short sentence in a federal penitentiary for his crime. He is a convict, and he will always be one.

“No one believes his story about UBB because it is simply not true, even though he continues to pollute the airwaves in West Virginia with his ridiculous claims. It’s time for him to go back to Las Vegas and allow the families of those killed under his watch at Massey to live their lives free from his miserable attempts to blame others for his own misdeeds.”

Sponsored Content