The Don Blankenship trial wasn’t about the miners that lost their lives. I know this trial weighs heavily on a lot of people and I know this post isn’t going to be popular with the people around me, but the bottom line is, Blankenship wasn’t singled out by any of the charges directly relating him to the deaths of the miners. There were no murder charges against him. I am not defending him, I am simply stating the facts. Here’s the charges:
* Count one is conspiracy to willfully violate mandatory federal mine safety standards or to defraud the United States. (CONVICTION)
* Count two is knowingly and willfully making or causing to be made a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement related to a material matter within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (NOT GUILTY)
* Count three is willfully, knowingly, and with the intent to defraud making or causing to be made untrue statements of material fact or omissions of material fact in connection with the sale or purchase of securities. (NOT GUILTY)
As I stated at the end of the trial, when the defense rested their case without calling a single witness, this was over and done with before the first words were uttered by the jury during deliberations and the defense knew that it was over. Yes, he was convicted of Count 1, which actually took me by surprise that Count 1 was the misdemeanor, a minor offense punishable by a maximum (I think) of one year in prison (and fines?). One would assume, “..defraud the United States” would be a felony. No wonder so many people aren’t worried about defrauding the United States. His legal team will probably appeal this and chances are, he’ll get out of the conviction. There’s several avenues that are evident to me for them to do this, not the least of which is appealing based on the way the jury was handled by the judge.
At any rate, from the beginning of all of this, when the initial charges were filed, as much as we would like the trial to have been about those miners that perished, it was not and wasn’t meant to be.
If I were to guess, I would guess that the government knew they could not get a conviction related to the deaths of the miners and chose not to go that route. Rather, they chose to go the route of the other items listed, thinking there was a chance for a conviction against someone so hated in the coal fields of West Virginia. By doing so, getting that conviction, this would put the government in the limelight, probably the prosecutor himself and add to the legend of the prosecutor (for later political ambitions perhaps?).
While I know many people are upset that this coal baron is basically walking away with a slap on the wrist, remember, his trial was never about the miners nor the loss of life. Even if he were to be found guilty on the two felony counts, neither of which was directly related to the loss of life.
Once this sinks in, as it has done with me over these past few months, I think you’ll realize what a complete let-down this entire thing was from the onset. There was never going to be any justice relating to any malfeasance that was probably conducted resulting in the loss of the lives of those miners. While civil trials have occurred, along with settlements made, whether there’s any further course of action to take, I am unsure of, but the one thing I am pretty sure of, you’ll not see any further criminal charges against any of the players involved.
(http://wvmetronews.com/2015/12/03/blankenship-verdict/): “…After the verdict, defense attorney Bill Taylor told reporters Blankenship never should have been brought to trial in the first place and he plans an appeal, adding that he thought the jury was coerced into reaching a verdict.”