The conviction carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to one year in prison.
Taylor said they were pleased Blankenship was found not guilty of all felony charges in the indictment.
Though the federal jury in Charleston, West Virginia did find Blankenship guilty of conspiracy, it did not find him guilty of securities fraud or of making false statements after the disaster.
On Thursday afternoon, Taylor released a statement to Courthouse News in which he described the verdict as “a stunning rejection of the government’s heavy-handed and misguided power to prosecute”. Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Coal miner fatalities are so common that they have come to be seen as an unavoidable part of the industry, noted the Huffington Post. The explosion and subsequent collapse killed 29 miners.
Blankenship was found guilty on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate mine safety regulations.
Rose said Blankenship’s safety directives stirred reasonable doubt about the second and third counts, which charged Blankenship with lying to financial regulators and investors about claims that Massey “strive(s)” to meet safety standards and does not “condone” violations.
According to the prosecutor, this is the first time that a chief executive of a major company has been convicted of a workplace safety crime.
“This is, to my knowledge, unprecedented”, Goodwin said.
Blankenship plans to appeal, however.
“We are disappointed in the verdict”. This is a case which should never have been brought. “The blood of these 29 people is on your hands”.
Just a wink, he was asked?
He said that it was his hope the verdict would make a difference throughout the country. “I knew it was going to be a little bit lengthy and I couldn’t take that much time looking at that man’s face”. “He was only 25”. Blankenship’s lawyers argued that Massey mines were no worse than others, Smith said, adding that the contention doesn’t match the public record. We stand with victims, family members and safety activists. I thank the jury for having the courage to send this message and establish a clear deterrent to this kind of activity. The probe produced four other convictions up the Massey corporate chain, leading to Mr. Blankenship.
The conviction caps a wide-spanning investigation into Massey following the explosion.
Former Massey safety expert William Ross, who gave a tough review of the company’s safety shortcomings, wept while testifying about how thrilled he had been to think that Massey was going to change.
Prosecutors had portrayed Blankenship as a CEO who routinely put profit before the safety of his employees.
And prosecutors consistently reminded jurors that a conspiracy doesn’t have to be spelled out formally between parties.
“This is something that Blankenship’s attorney kept saying – ‘It’s impossible to go through an MSHA inspection without a citation.’ ” she said. “Although the jury was not presented with the question whether Blankenship was directly responsible for the explosion, it did decide that he played Russian roulette with his miners’ lives”. “Every time you hear ‘Massey, ‘ you should be thinking: ‘defendant’s criminal conspiracy to break the law and run coal'”.