West Virginia court releases chief's e-mails sought by AP

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Five e-mails sent by the chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court to the head of coal company Massey Energy show the justice was concerned with a Democratic primary challenger.

The e-mails were released Wednesday after a county judge sided with The Associated Press, which sued the Supreme Court to have them released under the state's freedom of information law.

Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard lost a re-election bid after photos surfaced showing him vacationing with Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship. The Richmond, Virginia-based company had cases before the court.

The e-mails were sent in fall 2007 as Maynard prepared for a Democratic primary in May that he lost.

Two e-mails contain links to the Web site of a rival's law firm. Three others linked to news stories about the campaign.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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