Blankenship Convicted After Fatal Coal Mine Explosion

s-DON-BLANKENSHIP-largeA federal jury in West Virginia convicted Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, on Thursday of a charge of conspiring to violate mine safety in the wake of a 2010 blast that killed 29 workers.

When Blankenship was CEO of Massey Energy, his big spending to elect a top West Virginia  judge led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009 about runaway spending in judicial elections, Caperton v. Massey. The political spending episode became a poster child for judicial reform advocates.

A New York Times article said the jury acquitted Blankenship of charges of  making false statements and securities fraud. The Associated Press said he was convicted on a misdemeanor count, and acquitted on more serious counts. He could face up to a year in prison.