Coal Tattoo

Judge will release Blankenship trial exhibits

In an apparent win for public and media access, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger has told lawyers in the Don Blankenship case that she will grant a motion from the Charleston Gazette-Mail and West Virginia Public Broadcasting for daily access to trial exhibits that are shown to jurors.

During a court session on Thursday morning, Berger noted that she had received the media motion, which referenced a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling mandating such access to exhibits and said she wanted to comply with that ruling in Blankenship’s case.

The judge told prosecutors and defense attorneys that they should provide a copy of all exhibits for the media by 9 a.m. the day after those exhibits are used in court.

Also, Judge Berger told both sides that they had until the close of business today to file any response to the media motion asking that the jury selection be opened to the public and the press.

That’s all according to a review of a transcript of Thursday’s court session, which was briefly available for viewing on a public computer terminal at the clerk’s office at the federal building here in Charleston.