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Alpha Natural Resources must pay ex-Massey CEO's legal fees in criminal investigation, trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A federal judge has ordered Alpha Natural Resources to pay former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s legal fees stemming from a criminal investigation and upcoming trial.

In a ruling released Thursday in Delaware Chancery Court, the judge cited the terms of Massey’s charter and the company’s merger agreement with Alpha.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where an explosion killed 29 men in April 2010. Blankenship announced his retirement eight months later, and Alpha bought Massey for $7.1 billion in 2011.

The ruling was first reported by The Charleston Gazette.

Attorneys for Blankenship last week asked a federal judge in Beckley to delay his July trial until January.