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Ex-CEO of Massey Energy Don Blankenship. (Image: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr - Photo taken by Mannie Garcia)

Ex-coal chief asks higher court to stay free pending appeal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former coal company executive is asking an appeals court if he can remain free while appealing a case that dealt him a prison sentence.

Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on Tuesday asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let him remain free on $1 million bond, pending appeal. Otherwise, Blankenship’s attorneys say he may serve much, or all, of his one-year sentence before a larger appellate decision is reached.

Blankenship was sentenced April 6 to the maximum prison time and fine of $250,000 for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. A jury convicted him Dec. 3.

A coal mine exploded there in 2010, killing 29 men.

Related: The Latest: Ex-coal chief appeals in mine safety case

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