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Blankenship jurors still deadlocked, keep trying

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal judge encouraged jurors in the criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to continue deliberating after receiving a note late Tuesday morning from the jury foreperson indicating they were still deadlocked.

“Do you have any further instruction as to what we should do?” jurors asked in the note.

 The eight-woman, four-man jury returned to the courtroom with exasperated looks on their faces. U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger proceeded to give them an Allen charge, or a “dynamite charge,” an instruction that encourages further deliberation.
Tuesday marked the seventh full day of deliberations, as jurors struggle to decide whether the 65-year-old former CEO is guilty of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety regulations and lying to investors and securities regulators after the April 5, 2010, explosion at Upper Big Branch that killed 29 miners.

Blankenship faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Berger told jurors the court does not have the power to compel them to reach a verdict, but opinions may be changed during deliberations.

“Do not hesitate to re-examine your own views,” she said.

Berger asked the jurors, whether they find themselves in the majority or the minority, to carefully consider the views of others…


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