News Organizations Move to Overturn Gag Order in Blankenship Case

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship. (File photo: AP)

Russell Mokhiber

A group of news organizations – the Charleston Gazette, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal – and Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting – have filed a motion to overturn Judge Irene Berger’s gag order in the criminal case against former Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

The news organizations are being represented by Charleston attorney Sean McGinley.

Judge Berger’s gag order sealed all prior and future filings and prohibited actual and alleged victims, their relatives and others — as well as trial participants and counsel, from saying anything or releasing any documents “regarding the facts or substance of this case.”

The news organizations argue that Berger’s gag order is “overbroad” and infringes on the news organizations’ First Amendment rights.

The news organizations argue that “there has been no showing that all speech about the facts or substance of the case,” or that all court filings “pose a sufficient threat of harm to a fair trial interest that justify the gag and sealing order.”

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