The judge in the federal indictment of former Massey Energy leader Don Blankenship on Jan. 5 agreed to a delay in the start of the trial, which had been due to begin this month on the 26th.
Blankenship, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged by federal prosecutors of knowingly violating federal mining laws leading up to a 2010 fatal explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, which killed 29 workers. The case is being handled in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
On a motion from Blankenship, Judge Irene Berger on Jan. 5 set a new case schedule that includes a Feb. 6 deadline for any motion to dismiss, additional pretrial motions to be filed no later than Feb. 6, a pretrial motions hearing to be held on March 3, and a trial scheduled for an April 20 start at 9:00 a.m. in the Beckley courthouse.
Blankenship retired from Massey Energy, which was based in Richmond, Va., at the time, in late 2010, before it was taken over in mid 2011 by Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR). The stock market beating the company took after the mine explosion is considered a major reason why it was willing to be taken over by Alpha.