Prosecutors say mine disaster is relevant in Blankenship trial

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Prosecutors say in court documents that evidence about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster is a necessary part of the government’s criminal case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.
    
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports prosecutors made the filing in a brief filed in U.S. District Court.
    
The filing says jurors will need to hear about the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners to understand charges that Blankenship lied to securities regulators and to investors about Massey’s safety practices.
    
Blankenship’s attorneys had previously asked that evidence from the mine disaster be excluded from the jury trial, which is set to begin in October in Charleston.
    
Blankenship has been charged with conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

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