Blankenship trial should be held in Beckley

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The latest in the lead-up to the Don Blankenship trial is that prosecutors claim the former Massey Energy Co. chief doesn’t actually “own” a home in Las Vegas, and shouldn’t be allowed to vacation there over the Memorial Day holiday.

They also say that Blankenship, on trial for his alleged actions surrounding the Upper Big Branch mine disaster that claimed 29 lives, is a flight risk, even though he has surrendered his passport.

The legal sparring between Blankenship’s lawyers and federal prosecutors isn’t unusual before a high-profile trial such as this one.

That trial is scheduled to commence on July 13.

What isn’t clear is whether it will be held in federal court in Beckley, or whether, due to the doctrine of prejudicial pretrial publicity, Blankenship should face a jury in another federal jurisdiction in order to ensure he receives a fair trial.

Speculation has the trial being moved to Martinsburg, Huntington or even Baltimore.

We think the trial should be held in Beckley…

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