- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship says he’s being vindictively prosecuted because he’s an outspoken critic of Democrats.

The assertion came within dozens of court documents unsealed after a federal appeals court dismissed the case’s gag order Thursday. The Associated Press and other media challenged the order that sealed most documents and prohibited almost everyone from discussing the case.

Blankenship headed Massey when Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in 2010. He’s charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards.

Blankenship’s attorney wrote that southern West Virginia judges couldn’t fairly hear the case because U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin is the son of Judge Joseph Goodwin. He’s in the same district, but isn’t handling the case.

They said Blankenship is being targeted for his documentary that shifts blame for the mine explosion.

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