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Blankenship trial moved to Charleston with Oct. 1 start

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The federal criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is now scheduled to be held in U.S. District Court in Charleston beginning Oct. 1.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger entered an order Friday moving the trial date and location.

Blankenship allegedly skirted federal mine safety laws in the months leading up to the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County where 29 workers died as the result of the blast investigators said was aided by coal dust. Blankenship also allegedly lied about Massey to investors.

Blankenship and federal prosecutors had previously asked Berger to postpone the original July 13 trial date. Blankenship’s legal team also sought a change of venue outside of West Virginia. Berger’s Friday order said a jury pool would be larger in Charleston than Beckley.

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