Don Blankenship

By Bill Archer

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BECKLEY — Donald L. Blankenship, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Massey Energy Co., is scheduled to be in court next week for his initial appearance/arraignment of criminal charges related to his involvement in the conditions at the Upper Big Branch-South Mine that led to the April 5, 2010 explosion that claimed the lives of 29 coal miners.

Blankenship is scheduled to appear at U.S. District Court in Beckley at 1 p.m., on Nov. 20, before U.S. Magistrate R. Clarke VanDervort, according to an entry on the court calendar.

Blankenship, 64, was named in a four-count federal indictment that he conspired to violate mandatory mine safety laws, conspired to defraud the government and made false statements to the government after the explosion.

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