Prosecutors Seek Max of 1 Year in Prison for Ex-coal CEO

March 29, 2016 Updated: March 29, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—Prosecutors want a year in prison and a $250,000 fine for convicted ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who ran a West Virginia coal mine that was the site of a deadly explosion.

In a sentencing memorandum in federal court Monday, prosecutors said a shorter sentence could only be interpreted as declaring that mine safety laws aren’t to be taken seriously.

Prosecutors wrote that Upper Big Branch Mine was a powder keg 1,000 feet below the surface, primed to blow at any time. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

In this  Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, file photo, Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship makes his way out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse during a break in deliberations, Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, file photo, Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship makes his way out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse during a break in deliberations, Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)

Blankenship was convicted Dec. 3 of a misdemeanor conspiracy to willfully violate mine safety standards at the mine.

In their memorandum, Blankenship’s attorneys say he shouldn’t receive more than probation and a fine. They say they intend to appeal. Defense attorneys included letters from people commending him.