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Ex-coal exec Blankenship sentenced to year in prison

In a Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 file photo, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley, File) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Former coal executive Don Blankenship has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined $250,000 for conspiracy to violate mine safety standards in the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced the ex-Massey Energy CEO on Wednesday.

Blankenship was convicted Dec. 3 of a misdemeanor conspiracy to willfully violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine. The West Virginia coal mine exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

He was acquitted of felonies that could have stretched his sentence to 30 years. His attorneys had argued for probation and after the sentence, they promised to appeal.

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