Office of Professional Responsibility Finds DOJ Prosecutors Committed Professional Misconduct
Today, the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) released the findings of its investigation into the prosecutors in Don Blankenship’s case. OPR determined that former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby both committed “professional misconduct” during Don’s prosecution. Additionally, OPR found that Goodwin and Ruby “recklessly” disregarded their discovery obligations and violated DOJ’s own policies by failing to turn over dozens of materials they were required to disclose to the defense. Specifically, OPR found that Ruby and Goodwin failed to disclose sixty-one memoranda of witness interviews that should have been provided to Don’s defense, many of which supported Don’s position that he had done nothing illegal. By their reckless actions, prosecutors repeatedly violated Don’s constitutional rights, and fundamentally denied him a fair trial. Incredibly, the prosecutors have made the claim to OPR that their misconduct didn’t matter. The OPR report validates what Don has stated repeatedly. He was not treated fairly, and did not receive a fair trial. After convicting Don unfairly, Booth Goodwin and Steve Ruby used their experience as prosecutors to land lucrative careers in private practice, while Don sat in jail. In fact, Steve Ruby went to work for the same attorneys who represented the key witness against Don who had been granted full immunity from prosecution by Goodwin and Ruby. Don will continue to vigorously pursue a dismissal of his conviction, which he is confident will be granted in light of the OPR report and other evidence that has been disclosed since his trial. Don offers his personal apologies to the public and the MSHA victims’ families that he cannot disclose the details of the prosecution misconduct even though he has personal access to those details. The reason being that he was forced by DOJ to sign a so called “Protective Order” which prohibits him from disclosing to the public or to the families the details of the misconduct. Don is not sure who or what the “Protective Order” is meant to protect but it certainly is not him. Some of you may recall that when arraigned before trial Don was also placed under a gag order—because his “free speech troubles the United States”.