Supreme Court won't take up case of ex-Massey Energy CEO

FILE - In a Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse after the jury deliberated for a fifth full day in his trial, in Charleston, W.Va. Coal industry groups are concerned that the conviction of Blankenship could put other coal executives at risk of criminal conspiracy charges. Coal Associations from Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia shared concerns in a brief Tuesday, July 5, 2016 with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.(AP Photo/Chris Tilley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is leaving in place the conviction of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010.
The court declined Tuesday to take up Blankenship’s case. Blankenship, who recently finished a one-year prison term, had asked the court to review his conviction, which a federal appeals court upheld in January.
Blankenship had said he’s “more than 100 percent innocent” and the case was colored by emotion and publicity. He says natural gas caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, and the trial judge erred in instructing the jury and limiting cross-examination.
Four investigations found worn and broken cutting equipment created a spark that ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas.