Federal court to hear Don Blankenship's appeal of conviction

A federal court in Richmond, Va., Wednesday will hear former Massey Energy Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship's appeal of his conviction. (WCHS/WVAH)

Don Blankenship continues his battle to get his conviction overturned as a three-judge panel is set to hear arguments in the case.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., will hear oral arguments in the case on Wednesday.

Since May, the former Massey Energy chief executive officer has been serving a one-year sentence at a California prison for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards.

Blankenship's misdemeanor conviction came after 24 days of testimony in connection with his involvement in the Upper Big Branch explosion that killed 29 men in 2010.

In briefs filed earlier this year, Blankenship's attorneys said the jury pool in Charleston was biased against him, the prosecution was politically motivated and the trial controlled by rulings unfair to the defense.

A defiant Don Blankenship declared himself an "American political prisoner" on his blog, blaming others for the 2010 mine explosion. The ex-Massey Energy CEO said he plans to distribute 250,000 copies of the 67-page diatribe in booklet form.

The AP contributed to this report

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