Coal News: Judge delays ex-Massey CEO trial

ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A judge has delayed the trial of a former West Virginia coal baron facing criminal charges in connection with a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men.

A docket entry Monday in U.S. District Court in Beckley shows that Judge Irene Berger rescheduled the trial of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship until April 20. It was slated for Jan. 26.

A pretrial hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday will be held March 3.

In a previous hearing, Blankenship's attorneys said the trial should be delayed a year. Federal prosecutors opposed a lengthy delay.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards at Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, where a 2010 explosion killed 29 men.

Blankenship's attorneys have also said they want the case moved out of southern West Virginia, which prosecutors oppose.

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