Coal Tattoo


Don Blankenship leaves court this afternoon with his lead defense lawyer, Bill Taylor, left, and another one of his attorneys. Photo by Joel Ebert.

After a favorable ruling this morning by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger,  defense lawyers for Don Blankenship showed jurors a series of memos that depict Blankenship pressing Massey Energy officials to take steps to reduce safety violations at the company’s mines.

Sandra Davis, Blankenship’s former secretary, answered questions about the memos from defense lawyer Eric Delinsky.

In one memo, Blankenship says Massey managers needed to take reducing violations more seriously.

“Let’s not get bureaucratic,” Blankenship says in that March 2009 memo. “Let’s get effective and, primarily, let’s do it yesterday.”

Blankenship says in another document that dealing with increased federal safety citations is “a new and frightening challenge” and that he’s very disappointed company officials don’t “step up” to respond.

“Let’s get it done,” Blankenship says in another document.

“Do your jobs,” he tells company officials in another.

Questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey, Davis said she did not know if the safety initiatives discussed by Blankenship were ever put into place or, if they were, if they were effective.