- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The latest on the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge sends a message that “no mine operator is above the law.”

Perez made the statement in a news release Thursday after the verdict was announced in Blankenship’s criminal trial in Charleston.

Perez said there “must be accountability when people lose their lives because of the neglect of their employer.”

Blankenship was convicted of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison. He was not found guilty of a more serious conspiracy charge. He was also acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.

The case centered on West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

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1:30 p.m.

A federal prosecutor says that, to his knowledge, the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge is “unprecedented.”

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin made the comment at a news conference Thursday after the verdict was announced in Blankenship’s criminal trial in Charleston.

Goodwin said it’s the first time he’s aware of that a chief executive of a major corporation has been convicted of a workplace safety crime.

Blankenship was convicted Thursday of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison. He was not found guilty of a more serious conspiracy charge. He was also acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.

Goodwin said the conviction is “long overdue.”

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1:15 p.m.

A federal prosecutor says the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge marks a “landmark day for the safety of coal miners.”

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin made the comment at a news conference Thursday after the verdict was announced in Blankenship’s criminal trial in Charleston.

Blankenship was convicted Thursday of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison. He was not found guilty of a more serious conspiracy charge. He was also acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.

Blankenship was tried on charges of conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, and lying to financial regulators and investors about safety. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

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12:30 p.m.

A federal jury in West Virginia has convicted ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship of a misdemeanor count connected to a deadly coal mine explosion and acquitted him of other charges.

Blankenship was convicted Thursday of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in prison. He was not found guilty of a more serious conspiracy charge that could have netted five years in prison. He was also acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.

Blankenship was tried on charges of conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, and lying to financial regulators and investors about safety. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Prosecutors contended that Blankenship was a micromanager who meddled in the smallest details at the mine, and cared more about money than safety.

His multimillion-dollar defense team said the government had no evidence Blankenship was involved in a conspiracy.

12:15 p.m.

A jury has found ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship guilty on one of three counts connected to a deadly coal mine explosion.

Blankenship was convicted Thursday on a conspiracy count but acquitted of making false statements and securities fraud.

A 12-member jury returned the verdict for the former coal industry executive in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Blankenship was tried on charges of conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, and lying to financial regulators and investors about safety. The mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Prosecutors contended that Blankenship was a micromanager who meddled in the smallest details at the mine, and cared more about money than safety.

His multimillion-dollar defense team said the government had no evidence Blankenship was involved in a conspiracy.

Blankenship was indicted in November 2014 and his trial began Oct. 1.

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10:15 a.m.

Jurors have resumed deliberations in ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s trial.

The jury returned to work Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia.

Jurors have said twice they couldn’t agree on a verdict. They have deliberated for all or part of nine days.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine and lying to financial regulators and investors about safety. The coal mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Prosecutors contended that Blankenship was a micromanager who meddled in the smallest details at the mine and cared more about money than safety.

Blankenship’s defense team said the government offered no evidence he was involved in a conspiracy.

His trial began Oct. 1.

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The second paragraph of this story has been corrected to say Blankenship was acquitted of more serious charges.

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