Coal Tattoo

New court filing from defense team

This post is from Joel Ebert, who is covering the Don Blankenship trial with Ken Ward Jr.

The Blankenship defense team filed another motion today. The latest filing is in opposition to the government’s motion to exclude arguments and evidence relating to Massey Energy’s disagreements with the regulation prohibiting use of belt air.

Here’s an excerpt from the filing:

The defense, however, will introduce evidence and argue that MSHA insisted upon certain methods of ventilation that resulted in revisions to the UBB ventilation plan that were complex and difficult to comply with and that caused, among other things, difficulties in ventilating the working sections of the mine—including, specifically, the longwall section.2 Such evidence is both relevant and highly exculpatory.”

And another:

“Count One of the superseding indictment charges Mr. Blankenship with conspiracy to willfully violate mine safety and health regulations at UBB.

Evidence will show that alleged violations of ventilation-related regulations at UBB were the result of circumstances other than any conspiracy charged in the superseding indictment.

For example, in a memorandum dated June 7, 2010, Chris Blanchard, the former president of Performance Coal Company, which operated UBB throughout the indictment period, wrote that a substantial percentage of the ventilation-related “[o]rders” and “citations received at UBB in 2009 and 2010 were caused directly from following the complex ventilation scheme mandated by MSHA.”

You can read the entire filing here.