• Don Blankenship

GOVERNMENT AGREES TO RELEASE MORE HIDDEN DOCUMENTS


Don Blankenship announced today that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has finally agreed to release their Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report. The DOJ did not, however, provide a date on which the report would be released. Mr. Blankenship expects the report to disclose prosecutorial misconduct by former DOJ prosecutors, including U.S. Attorney, Booth Goodwin, and Assistant U.S. Attorney, Steve Ruby. It is worth mentioning that Goodwin’s father, Judge Joseph Goodwin, is one of five federal judges sitting in the Southern District of West Virginia. Though Judge Goodwin did not hear Mr. Blankenship’s case, Judge Goodwin’s mentee, Judge Irene Berger was assigned the case. And Judge Goodwin didn’t miss the opportunity to stop in to oversee the proceedings. On Friday, Mr. Blankenship’s attorneys filed a motion which requested that the court order the DOJ to release the OPR report “within ten days.” Mr. Blankenship is hopeful that the report will be an honest and complete communication of the atrocious prosecutorial misconduct which led to his false misdemeanor conviction and extremely rare imprisonment as a misdemeanant. The report will likely highlight the overt Brady violations by the prosecution—the intentional withholding and misrepresentation of information that would have exonerated Mr. Blankenship. Unfortunately, however, Brady violations are merely a small portion of the pandemic corruption within the Obama-era DOJ. Mr. Blankenship said that the combination of misconduct by both the DOJ and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) not only led to Mr. Blankenship’s misdemeanor conviction, but also slandered the very miners who perished in the 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine tragedy. In fact, earlier this year, as part of Mr. Blankenship’s continuing efforts to force the government to disclose the truth, the DOJ released documents disclosing that the MSHA-UBB investigation team shredded documents and altered charts. Previously undisclosed MSHA emails showed that MSHA investigators believed that their own mine regulators were responsible for a “faulty ventilation” (their words) system being installed at UBB—a ventilation system that cut the mine's airflow in half and which was completed just eight hours prior to the mine explosion. Earlier this year, Mr. Blankenship learned that MSHA did, in fact, discipline its regulators for improper handling of the ventilation plan reviews. Suspiciously, the lead MSHA investigator quit his job immediately before the finalization and release of the investigation team’s report. When asked why, he would only say “[t]hey [MSHA] did not like what they were hearing.” Mr. Blankenship also stated that “there is no question that the government’s collective misbehavior caused the UBB explosion, then covered it up by prosecuting an innocent person and slandering the victims of the explosion.” He further stated that, “[t]he government’s hidden and barbaric misconduct is uncivilized as it continues to place miners at a greater risk." Mr. Blankenship continued, “[w]e live in a country where former President Obama declared that he knew who caused the mine explosion before any investigation had begun and the chief government coal mine regulator said the same; a country where U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said before the trial had even begun that Mr. Blankenship 'ha[d] blood on his hands' even though the Senator admitted '[he] [did] not know the facts'; a country where former U.S. Senator John Rockefeller can say ‘[a] fair trial is more than Mr. Blankenship deserves’; a country where a U.S. federal prosecutor can say—in open court—that an accused should be treated more harshly because the defendant’s free speech 'troubles the United States.'" "A government that lies, destroys and alters documents during a criminal investigation, slanders its citizens, purposely delays judicial proceedings, and intentionally imprisons an innocent person is not a government which is acting based on American principles. It is a government that must be changed," said Mr. Blankenship. On a separate note, the DOJ has also agreed to release more hidden MSHA-UBB documents but it is not clear whether these documents will include the highly sought after MSHA-UBB inspector emails, which Mr. Blankenship believes are needed to get to the full truth. In closing, Mr. Blankenship added that “[i]n order to get the full truth, it may require yet another trip to the Supreme Court of the United States.”








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