A former coal company executive goes on trial in a West Virginia court on Thursday on federal charges stemming from a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 people.
Don Blankenship, the former chief executive officer of Massey Energy Co, faces three felony counts for allegedly ignoring hundreds of safety breaches at the Upper Big Branch Mine and conspiring to cover up violations. The blast was the worst U.S. mine disaster in four decades.
More than 100 people have been called for jury selection in Charleston’s U.S. District Court. Judge Irene Berger moved the trial from Beckley after Blankenship’s lawyers complained he could not get a fair trial there because of intense pre-trial publicity.
Blankenship, who led Massey from 2000 to 2010, pleaded not
guilty in 2014 and is free on a $5 million cash bond. His lawyers had repeatedly sought a delay in the trial.
Blankenship faces a maximum 31 years in prison if convicted
on all charges. Massey Energy was purchased in 2011 by Alpha
Natural Resources Inc for about $7 billion.
Blankenship is accused of conspiring to falsify dust samples and violating federal securities laws by lying about Massey’s safety practices.
A federal appeals court in March lifted a sweeping gag order from Berger that had sealed filings and barred participants from talking about the case.
The death toll at Upper Big Branch, about 40 miles (65 km) south of Charleston, was the highest since 91 miners were killed in a 1972 fire at an Idaho silver mine.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Eric Beech)
Republicans ‘went nuts’ on intelligence officials who told them Russia is ready to support Trump’s re-election: report
On Thursday, an explosive new report showed that not only was Russia planning once again to sabotage the U.S. presidential election, but that President Donald Trump was furious when intelligence officials informed House Democratic investigators of this threat — shortly before he announced he would be replacing the acting Director of National Intelligence with a hardcore partisan loyalist.
But according to The Daily Beast, Trump wasn't the only one who was outraged. House Republicans who received the briefing also objected to the intelligence.
‘That’s a bombshell, that’s an earthquake’: NBC reporter sounds the alarm on Russia’s latest efforts for Trump
The New York Times broke the story Thursday that Russia is supporting President Donald Trump and is already hacking the 2016 election to help his reelection.
It was something NBC reporter Ken Delanian called a "bombshell."
"It is the worst nightmare of many of my sources in the intelligence world," he said. "It's bad enough to learn that there is classified intelligence that Russia is interfering again and trying to elect Donald Trump. We should be careful about that because it is not clear what it means. Does it mean disinformation on social media, does it mean intercepts that suggest people in the Kremlin are discussing the campaign? That is bad enough, but then the notion that because a briefing of that information was delivered to a bipartisan group of lawmakers, that cost Joe Maguire the job? That is a bombshell."
REVEALED: Bloomberg NDA gave women a specific script to read if asked about what the company did
One of the key moments in Wednesday nights Democratic debate came when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pressed former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg on why he won't release women from Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that prevent them from discussing alleged wrongdoing at his companies.
President Donald Trump also used an NDA is his hush-money scheme to silence Stormy Daniels.
Warren asked Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements, "so we can hear their side of the story."
Former Vice President Joe Biden also joined in, but Bloomberg refused to allow the women to tell their story -- and couldn't even answer Warren's question about the number of women who are gagged by NDAs.