According to an Associated Press report, the former executive — who left his seat in December 2010, a few months after the blast — has filed a total of 16 motions through his legal counsel claiming that information on his salary and stock holdings would be irrelevant to his case.
Additionally, the filing reportedly said, testimony from former Massey subsidiary White Buck Coal President David Hughart, who is now serving prison time on conspiracy charges for his part in the events, will unfairly prejudice a jury.
Hughart was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after admitting in 2013 that he helped ensure that miners at his operations were given illegal advanced warning of required inspections. During his plea hearing that same year, he implicated Blankenship in the scheme.
Blankenship’s lawyer, however, said that Hughart’s testimony only applies to mines other than UBB, according to the AP
“The indictment specifically states that Mr. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to willfully violate mine-safety standards and impede MSHA ‘at UBB,’ not at any other mine,” the attorney’s motion read.
The legal team has also entered a second motion to exclude previous guilty pleas by White Buck Coal and Aracoma Coal, another subsidiary of the operator formerly known as Massey Energy, to violating federal regulations. Another seeks to remove from evidence claims from the former CEO that Massey mines were safe despite reported violations.
Still other motions for exclusion include an argument by Blankenship that federal mine regulations were either incorrect or misguided.
“If the only question in this case is whether the defendant violated the criminal provisions he is charged with violating, then the answer is not complicated. He did,” Ruby said. “Mine safety laws were violated at the Upper Big Branch mine…thousands of times — the same, readily preventable violations, over and over — with his full knowledge and under his close supervision.”
Massey Energy, which had been based in Richmond, Virginia, was acquired by Alpha Natural Resources in 2011 in a deal worth more than $7 billion.
Blankenship is currently on travel restriction as he awaits his October 1 trial date.