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Prosecutors oppose Blankenship bond reduction

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Saying that potential restitution and fines could have “financially disastrous consequences” for Don Blankenship, federal prosecutors on Wednesday urged a judge not to lower the former Massey CEO’s bond or otherwise reduce restrictions on his pre-sentencing release.

While Blankenship faces a statutory maximum prison sentence of one year, prosecutors warned that he is a risk to flee prior to sentencing because the potential monetary sanctions “could reach tens of millions of dollars” and could bankrupt Blankenship.

“The potentially ruinous threat to defendant’s riches provides a powerful motive for him to evade sentencing,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby. “Yet defendant seeks minimal bond conditions that would mean nothing to one so extravagantly wealthy.”

Ruby cautioned that Blankenship has “substantial foreign ties” and included with a new court filing a recording of Blankenship saying in 2009 that he was considering moving to China.

Ruby’s arguments came in an eight-page response to a request from Blankenship to reduce his bond from $5 million to $250,000

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