Ex-mine superintendent to be sentenced Jan. 17

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A federal judge in West Virginia has denied a second request to postpone sentencing for the former superintendent of Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners died in a 2010 explosion.

Gary May is set to be sentenced Jan. 17 after pleading guilty to a charge that he conspired to defraud the United States.

Prosecutors said he manipulated the mine ventilation system to mislead inspectors and disabled a methane monitor on a cutting machine several months before the April 5 blast. The explosion was the worst mining disaster in the nation in four decades.

Mr. May, who is cooperating with the government investigation, argued in a Dec. 21 motion that he could lose a chance at a lighter sentence based on his cooperation if the sentencing date is not pushed back. The U.S. attorney's office had made the same argument two days earlier.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger denied the government's motion and Thursday denied Mr. May's request, saying he failed to show "good cause" for a postponement. She did allow Mr. May some extra time to file objections to a pre-sentence report, giving him until the end of today.

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