CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Opening arguments have concluded in the federal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship following more than four days of jury selection.
Jury selection began last Thursday and a jury was seated on Wednesday morning at the U.S. District Courthouse in Charleston.
The 65-year-old Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break mine safety laws and lying to financial regulators about safety practices at the Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners.
Federal regulators stepped up enforcement of mine safety laws in the wake of Upper Big Branch, which was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years. The explosion also prompted legislation in West Virginia in 2012 that increased penalties for mine safety violations.