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Former coal baron Blankenship sues media, claims defamation

Former coal baron Don Blankenship is suing dozens of media outlets and news personalities claiming he was defamed during his failed bid for a U.S. senate seat in West Virginia

Blankenship-Media-Lawsuit

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2018, file photo, former Massey CEO and West Virginia Republican Senatorial candidate, Don Blankenship, speaks during a town hall to kick off his campaign in Logan, W.Va. Blankenship is suing several news outlets and media personalities, claiming he was defamed during his failed bid for a U.S. senate seat in West Virginia. Blankenship's suit was filed Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Mingo County, West Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

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Friday, March 15, 2019

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) — Former coal baron Don Blankenship is suing several news outlets and media personalities, claiming he was defamed during his failed bid for a U.S. senate seat in West Virginia.

Blankenship’s suit was filed Thursday in Mingo County, West Virginia. It names The Associated Press among other large media companies.

Blankenship says news organizations waged a concerted plot to destroy him by erroneously labeling him as a convicted felon or saying he was imprisoned for manslaughter.

Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, which owned a mine where a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers. He spent a year in federal prison after being convicted of conspiring to break mine safety laws, a misdemeanor.

Blankenship is seeking $12 billion in damages.

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