(AP) — Lawyers for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship are urging a federal judge to split his criminal trial so a charge alleging a conspiracy to violate mine safety laws would be heard separately from charges of lying to securities regulators and investors.
According to reports, the request was made in a federal court filing Tuesday.
Blankenship's attorneys argue combining mine disaster details and the allegations of conspiring to violate safety rules would imply Blankenship is responsible for the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the 29 deaths it caused.
While the indictment doesn't allege Blankenship was responsible for the explosion, it focuses on events at that time.
Prosecutors have not yet responded to the motion.