The Latest: Judge says no to mistrial motion for ex-coal CEO

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2015 3:42 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The latest in the federal criminal trial of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. All times local:

3:30 p.m.

A judge has denied a motion for a mistrial as jurors continue deliberating in the federal trial of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Defense attorney William Taylor contended that because many jurors face a round trip to court of two hours or longer and they want to be sure they are home for Thanksgiving, they would be coerced into reaching a verdict.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger denied the motion and said jurors may have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off next week.

Jurors also asked the judge about the meaning of a word in a Massey press statement to investors and federal financial regulators that's included in the second and third counts of the indictment. Berger said she could not provide additional guidance.

Berger also said a member of the press tried to talk to two jurors, but the contact was minimal.

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1 p.m.

The Associated Press is asking a judge to make public the names and addresses of jurors in ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's trial.

The AP filed its motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The motion says criminal trial juror names and addresses are part of the public record as soon as the jury is selected. The jury was picked at the trial's start, Oct. 1.

The information has not yet been disclosed, even though AP and other media have previously requested it. The motion says there's no constitutionally valid reason to withhold the juror list.

Jury deliberations, which began Tuesday, continued on Friday.

Blankenship faces multiple criminal charges stemming from alleged safety violations at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch Mine. It exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.