(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — A jury has found former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship guilty on one of three counts he was facing in connection to a 2010 coal mine disaster that killed 29 mine workers.
Blankenship was found guilty on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate mine safety regulations. The charge carries a one- to five-year sentence.
The jury found Blankenship not guilty of two felony charges that accused the CEO of lying to investors and security fraud.
Prior to the trial, the 43-page indictment filed against Blankenship accused him of taking short cuts on safety in order to maximize profits for Massey Energy, including failing to properly ventilate the Upper Big Branch mine. Investigators suspect a buildup of methane and coal dust caused the deadly April 2010 blast. Blankenship retired from Massey later that year.
He is currently out of jail on a $5 million bond that was posted last year, and will not face other modifications, including home confinement. Not deemed a flight risk, Blankenship surrendered his passport last year.
Blankenship’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 23, 2016.
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