Don Blankenship Says DOJ Is Looking Into His Prosecution

Williamson, W.Va. – The Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Justice is conducting an investigation of the prosecution of Don Blankenship.

Don Blankenship said, “It has already been established beyond all doubt that the prosecution in my case withheld information from my attorneys and me, that should have been provided before my trial. The United States Department of Justice has, since my trial, provided my attorneys with numerous reports and other information not previously disclosed. These materials should have been provided to me pre-trial.”

Blankenship continued, “Because of this withheld information, it my understanding from my attorneys that the actions of the prosecution are being reviewed by the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). I look forward to the report from OPR’s investigation, which I hope will be issued in the near future. From what I know about what was withheld, I fully expect that report will conclude that the actions of the prosecution violated what the law and Department of Justice policy require.”

At the conclusion of the investigation, OPR will prepare a report of investigation in which it makes findings of fact and reaches conclusions as to whether the subject attorney committed professional misconduct. Booth Goodwin and Steve Ruby were the lead prosecutors in the case.

OPR may find the subject attorney committed professional misconduct by: (1) intentionally violating a clear and unambiguous obligation or standard imposed by law, applicable rule of professional conduct, or Department regulation or policy; or (2) recklessly disregarding his obligation to comply with that obligation or standard. OPR may also find that the attorney exercised poor judgment or made a mistake.

Once OPR completes its report of an investigation, the subject attorney and the component head are officially notified of the results of the investigation. If OPR determines that the subject attorney committed professional misconduct, prior to issuing a final report, the subject attorney, pursuant to a confidentiality agreement, and the component head may review the draft report, comment on the factual findings, and offer arguments as to why OPR should alter its conclusions. OPR will consider the comments and incorporate them into the final report, to the extent OPR considers it appropriate.

OPR may include in its report information relating to management and policy issues noted in the course of the investigation for consideration by Department officials.

Pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 0.39a and OPR’s routine uses under the Privacy Act, OPR also notifies the complainant of the results of the investigation.

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