Court denies Don Blankenship’s request to disqualify judges

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has denied former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s request to assign his case to a judge outside the Southern District of West Virginia. 

A three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rejected Blankenship’s petition in a one-page order issued Tuesday.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. An explosion at the former Massey Energy mine killed 29 men in 2010.

Blankenship’s lawyers had argued that the district’s judges should be disqualified from the case because their colleague, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, is the father of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

The prosecutor’s father doesn’t handle criminal cases in the district.

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