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Blankenship requests more time to seek rehearing of appeals court loss

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's defense team is asking for more time to file a petition for a rehearing after an appeals court recently declined to overturn his conviction of conspiring to violate mine safety laws.

The motion, uncontested by the government prosecutors, would move the due date of the petition from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10. The move, his attorneys write, would give the attorneys time to consult with Blankenship at the Taft Correctional Facility, which restricts days attorneys may visit.

The request said the attorneys might like to revisit some of the issues raised in the appeal through a rehearing or a rehearing en banc — a rehearing that is before the entire bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit versus a panel of judges.

In its denial of Blankenship's appeal, the court wrote that mine operators were intended to be subject to personal liability up to incarceration. The law, the court wrote, was intended to prevent operators from simply incorporating productivity-boosting safety violations as a cost of doing business.