Ex-Coal Chief Seeks Disqualification of Judges from Case

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Former Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship’s lawyers have asked a federal appeals court to assign his criminal case to a judge outside the Southern District of West Virginia.

A defense motion filed Monday with the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the district’s judges should be disqualified from the case because their colleague, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, is the father of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. The prosecutor’s father doesn’t handle criminal cases in the district.

The motion says issues regarding defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct should be decided by a judge from another district.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at Upper Big Branch, a former Massey mine in West Virginia where an explosion killed 29 men in 2010.