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Blankenship gets OK for holiday trip to Nevada

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal magistrate on Thursday approved a request from lawyers for Don Blankenship that the former Massey Energy CEO — who is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards — be allowed to “travel home” to Nevada for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort said in a two-page order that there is “little if any likelihood” that Blankenship “will feel motivated to flee” in advance of his sentencing.

In a separate order, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger rescheduled Blankenship’s sentencing to 10 a.m., April 6, in Charleston, moving the date back from March 23 at the request of lead defense lawyer Bill Taylor, who said he had plans to be out of the country on the earlier date.

Berger gave the U.S. Probation Office until Feb. 22 to prepare a draft pre-sentence report, a confidential background investigation of Blankenship that is used during sentencing. Both sides have until March 28 to file their sending briefs…

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