Coal Tattoo

Media challenges Blankenship case gag order

Mine Explosion

For Coal Tattoo readers who have been asking if the local or national press would challenge the broad gag order issued by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in the Don Blankenship criminal case, here’s the answer:

The Charleston Gazette and four other news organizations today urged a federal judge to withdraw a gag order that has blocked access to court records in a criminal case filed against longtime Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Joining in the legal action in federal court in Beckley were the Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, National Public Radio and the Friends of Public Broadcasting.

The media coalition asked U.S. District Judge Irene Berger to reconsider her order, which also prohibits parties in the case, potential trial witnesses, and potentially families of the victims of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster from talking to the media.

I’ve posted a copy of the legal filing by media lawyer Sean McGinley here.