Ex-prosecutor of 'King of Coal' to run for West Virginia governor

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 06, 2016 9:35 PM

By Kara Van Pelt

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. (Reuters) - The former U.S. attorney who gained the conviction of West Virginia's "King of Coal" over a deadly mine blast said on Wednesday he would run for governor as a Democrat.

    Booth Goodwin gained national attention last month for his successful prosecution of former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate mine safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine. A 2010 blast at the site killed 29 miners.

    Goodwin resigned as U.S. attorney for West Virginia's Southern District last week. He announced in Charleston that he would run to succeed Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, also a Democrat, who is not seeking re-election.

    The other Democratic candidates include coal and resort entrepreneur Jim Justice and state Senator Jeff Kessler. The Republican field is headed by state Senate President Bill Cole.

    Goodwin said that if elected he would focus on drug addiction, environmental and workplace safety issues, rooting out corrupt officials and protecting children and the elderly.

    Goodwin comes from a West Virginia political family, and his wife is the state tourism commissioner. His father was a federal judge, and a cousin served as U.S. senator to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Robert Byrd.

    A jury found Blankenship not guilty of making false statements and securities fraud. He faces up to a year in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced in April.


(Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Leslie Adler)