Earlier today in Charleston West Virginia, a jury heard four hours of closing statements from federal prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Don Blankenship criminal trial.
Don Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, the company that owned and managed the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, where 29 miners were killed in April 2010 as the result of safety violations.
And he faces up to 30 years in prison if he's convicted in this case.
It's a remarkable case because it's almost unprecedented for a CEO of a major corporation, especially a fossil fuel corporation, to face criminal charges when workers die on the job.
But, there's a catch!
The judge hearing the case, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger, made sure before the closing arguments began to explain that Blankenship isn't being charged for causing the explosion.
And that means that he's not actually being charged for the deaths of those 29 miners.
So, what DID Blankenship do that warrants a federal investigation and criminal trial?
Why is the former CEO of one of the largest coal companies in the country facing 30 years in prison?
Not because he might be responsible for the deaths of 29 miners, not because he apparently micromanaged the cover-up of nearly 600 safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine.
But because he crossed the wrong people. Because he allegedly misled wealthy investors.
Stop and think about that, 29 people died under Blankenship's watch and management.
And he's facing charges for misleading regulators and wealthy investors.
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