- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A federal judge has denied a bid by former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to quash the public disclosure of court filings arguing that his criminal case should be moved from southern West Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley issued the ruling Wednesday.

Blankenship’s attorneys had said releasing the documents would likely exacerbate pretrial bias against him. They say they surveyed southern West Virginia prospective jurors, and responses about Blankenship were extensive and inflammatory.

Last month, The Associated Press and other media outlets challenged the sealing of the documents. Previously, a federal appeals court overturned an extensive gag order in the case after a media challenge.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards related to Upper Big Branch Mine, where a 2010 blast killed 29 men.

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