Jury seated in Don Blankenship trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A jury has been chosen in the Don Blankenship criminal trial taking place at the federal courthouse in Charleston.

The 12-member panel was selected by federal prosecutors and defense attorneys this morning after 20 other potential jurors were struck.

Former Massey Energy President and CEO Don Blankenship
Former Massey Energy President and CEO Don Blankenship

Opening statements are expected later today.

Blankenship, the former Massey Energy boss, allegedly committed three federal crimes, two connected with federal mine safety laws. Federal prosecutors allege the crimes happened before and after the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County that killed 29 miners.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger, who has kept the jury selection process, mostly out of the public eye had a message for the jury panel Wednesday—indicating people trust juries and their role in the trial would be very important.

It took parts of five days to choose the jury.

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