The purpose of this radio ad (see below) is to clarify that I was never charged with having caused the mine explosion.
The basis of the prosecution charge against me was a single sentence in a letter that I did not write. A letter that the Massey Investor Relations and Public Relations Departments felt should be sent post the Upper Big Branch (UBB) explosion.
The letter corrected the media’s false reports, which – among other things – alleged numerous violations at UBB. Multiple internal and external attorneys reviewed the letter before I signed it.
As companies regularly do following a tragedy, this letter served to assure the public and the shareholders that the company was managing the aftermath of the tragedy in an appropriate manner.
For example, the letter informed its recipients that arrangements were being made to deal with the inevitable coal production shortfalls to come. The letter also served as a reminder that the company always strived to comply with all mine safety laws.
President Obama’s prosecutors alleged that Massey Energy Company did not try to comply with mine safety laws – a crime that carries a weighty prison sentence of twenty-five years (at 68 years old, that is a life sentence). Anyone who worked at Massey knew this was not true. And the jury ultimately agreed. As a result, I was found not guilty of that charges.
A fact not addressed in the ad, but one that I have addressed before, is that the one guilty verdict reached by the jury – a misdemeanor – was based upon a finding that I did NOT do one of three things. I did NOT either: budget as many men as the prosecutors felt I should have; repair a piece of rock-dust equipment quickly enough; or stop the miners from telling one another when mine inspectors arrived at the mine.
But I did not do the budget and the mine had far more miners actually working than were budgeted anyway. And the rock-dust machine was not needed to dust the mine properly and, in fact, it was a piece of equipment most other mines do not even own. Lastly, its human nature that miners tell one another when inspectors have arrived and my failure to stop them from doing so is not a crime. The truth is that none of these false charges have ever before been said to be a crime.
Most importantly, the ad also points out that Obama’s prosecutors did not dare charge me with causing the explosion. They knew that the combination of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspector testimony, forensic scientist testimony, coal miner testimony, and the paper trail of ventilation permit submittals and MSHA denials would make clear that the explosion was a natural gas explosion and not a coal dust explosion. They also knew that these testimonies would show that if anyone was to blame for the explosion, it was MSHA.
Perhaps this explanation will better inform those who write Facebook posts alleging that I killed 29 coal miners. Not even Obama’s Justice Department believed that or they would have charged me with doing so instead of hanging their hat on a single sentence in a letter that I did not write.
As a final point, it is not illegal for a person convicted of a misdemeanor to run for the U.S. Senate. Otherwise, the halls of Congress might be bare…