- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has arrived for the start of his federal trial on charges that he conspired to break safety laws and lied to financial regulators about safety practices.

Blankenship stepped out of a minivan that stopped in front of Charleston’s federal courthouse Thursday. Wearing a suit and striped tie, Blankenship was accompanied by three homeland security officers.

As he entered the courthouse on the first day of jury selection, a reporter asked whether he was innocent of the charges. Blankenship smiled and said “yes.”

The 65-year-old Blankenship faces up to three decades in prison if convicted over how he ran the Upper Big Branch Mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 miners.

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