tv Book TV After Words CSPAN June 22, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
face, the book is about the supreme court case that was decided at the end of the last decade, but it's much more than that. can you bring readers into various thanks -- things it covers? >> guest: it's a 14-year struggle, and the two lawyers fought and take on this case of the small mine owner in western virginia, southwestern virginia who is driven into bankruptcy by don blankenship, and they get into this, won a 50-man judgment, in a struggle, turned down, and blankenship buys the supreme court of virginia, basically, and they get so involved, and think think that he's such a bad man, they are consumed with bringing him down. they take other cases involving him, and he's like this predatory capitalist in the early years of the 20th century we born in our time, and they
fight him all the years until there's a measure of victory. >> host: uh-huh. so many things i found interesting about it, and one of the things i wanted to ask you is the very personal prologue, about how you got interested in the part of the world and in this case in the first place. >> guest: well, i'd had my adventures, been in the peace corp., worked in a factory in france, did all sorts of things, living in new york, wrote one book, bored, and looking for something to do. i read a wonderful book about eastern kentucky. >> host: when was this around? >> guest: this is in 19 -- 81. 81 -- 71, 1971, wow, 1971. i read the book, and i think what a fascinating part of the world not far from us. i got in the car and drove down to appalachia, and i had a friend of a friend who had a
furniture store and wanted to see him, and, well, if you want to learn about the region, the best thing to do is work in a coal mine. they picked up the phone, called the coal company, called united mine workers, and the next evening, i worked the hoot owl shift from midnight to 8 a.m.. >> host: and, you know, you do a good job, and based on your own experience and in the book of describing west virginia, which, you know, i think maybe some people have stereotypes, but one of the most compelling things found is in the book you said in the course of time and in industrialization in this country, that more than 100,000 miners per riched in the per suit of coal. this is to fire our factories, the power plants, to give the standard of living we have. can you tell us about the west virginia you were in in 1971 and the west virginia you returned to in the course of doing this
book, and what role you think the companies in the industry had in the changes that you saw. >> guest: well, in 1971, i was a union miner. everyone was union miner. there was no militant stronger in america than the united mine worker, and i saw how they cared about the safety and of the miners. it was for the miners. it had been corrupt, a murder of -- a murder of jack who was a reformer by -- but they were -- the union was coming around, and there was a sense of things getting better. it was a place you wanted to go. there was a quaint feeling in the little towns down there, and there's a feeling that things were getting better, so when i went back 40 years later to work on this book, i was stunned what had happenedded. first thing, just visually.
people built the homes, and now they made the mogul homes trucked in, and they are put on people's land. they don't own the land. the land is owned by outsiders, dumped the mobile homes on the property, they rot, they don't gain value. the country side is studded with this, that feeling. towns, themselves, lost population. there's etchty store fronts, there's a feeling life is going down. the most educated, the most daring, the most progressive people have mostly left state, so on that level it's a sad place. >> host: uh-huh. one of the things that you said in the book too is that as they entered the spiral, the hold on west virginia strengthened and tightened, some viewers remember don blakeenship and the energy
because of an explosion in 2010 at the upper big branch mine that took 29 miners' lives; right? >> guest: yeah. >> host: one of the reason that was put to the side was because of the deepwater horizon occurred a few weeks later, but i remember the coverage of upper big branch so blankenship's name may be there somewhere in the recesses of people's minds. what makes this look readable is your focus on characters, the individuals, and their motivations, and so blankenship, the person who ended uptightenning this hold on west virginia, he and taperton are the tw men at this dispute; right? can you tell us about the two men and how they ended up walking? what was the essence of the dispute between them that ended up in the trial? >> host: well first of all, blankenship is a poor boy, a house without indoor plumbing,
illegitimate. his mother ran a grocery store 16 hours a day. he saw life from the bottom. the taperton name is one of the great name of the state. his second cousin was governor, for three generations, they ran a mine, a good company town, and most of them were not good, but they really cared for their community and for the people that worked for them, but caperton didn't have the money himself, but he was able to start this mine to buy this mine in virginia, and blankenship, then, his company, caperton's mine had a long-term contract to borrow the coal from the company, and blankenship's company bought this -- >> host: the smaller company. that was the buyer of caperton's coal, right. >> guest: exactly. thought it was great, the bilge company's bought us, they will pay what they owe us, terrific news. blankenship, bottom line is everything to this man.
he's an accountant. he's an accountant's mentality, bottom line anything to do to have the bottom line as good as possible, you do. he looked what he paid for fort coal and thought it was too much. he declared force measure, it's a business contract that says there's an act of god, a fire, a strike, a hurricane or something like that, and you can't deliver, you get out of the contract. he -- they just lost one of the coal plants they sold the coal to. that was not a force measure. they said it was when caperton said he was going to sue him, blankenship said we spend a million a month on lawyers, you sue us, and we'll destroy you. >> host: right. part of it was initially, if i recall this correctly, blankenship spoke to caperton who was under the impression that blankenship would be interested in buying the company; right?
if i recall correctly, the coch plant that most of caperton coal's going to was not going to buy the coal. it was too late in, i guess, the sort of contract season for caperton to get a new buyer. he was up against the wall because of all the debts, and pee personally guaranteed; right? >> guest: right, right. >> host: and so this -- this is, perhaps, interesting if you just want to -- i don't know if you want to tell the readers about this, but it was sort of what, you know, about what blankenship promised caperton and how that changed. >> guest: well, well, caperton knew that he had been wronged by blankenship, but knew that there was all this money, knew he had 125 union miners that needed their jobs, and he didn't have the money for a lawsuit, and when blankenship said, you know, maybe the way out is for us to buy your company, he said, okay, and caperton thought it was worth something like $18
million, and he said that, and blank said, no, that's not enough, and went further down and down until it was just a few million dollars, and caperton had no choice but to take it, but the deal didn't close, and caperton's plan for the mine was that right next to his mine, there was coal next door, and his whole plan of survival and success was to buy that coal next door. blankenship, while negotiating this thing, bought a ring of coal around him to prevent harmin's mine, caperton's mine from expanding destroying the chance of success. he delays negotiations until the last minute, caperton there to sign the contract, sell his mine for very little money, and at that point, blank backs off and refuses to buy it. i think he was planning to buy
it in bankruptcy, and caperton had sueded him, he would have bought it in bankruptcy, destroyed the union is what he was doing, bringing his own strike workers, his own miners, and mine it. >> host: and so the -- the two antagonists were there, but there's two other men critical to this, the district attorneys, who caperton's contact with is one of them, and david faucet, and bruce stanley, and a former colleague of his; right? >> guest: right. >> host: how did they become involved, and how did it become an obsession with them? >> guest: right. one thing about blankenship and caperton again because blanken ship despised caperton. caperton was a rich west virginia as a kid he could not get near them. when he was president of masi energy, who was the other candidate of being president?
it was caperton's brother, a lawyer, who was, you know, very well-spoken, had the credentials of bloodline, but blankenship was the new force, and he beat him, and blankenship liked the idea of beating caperton and thought caperton was a rich spoiled boy, and caperton, what would he do? he had no money. he goes to dave faucet, a lawyer in pittsburgh, gets his company to take the case on contingency. faucet is a third generation pittsburgh lawyer. his -- and he has to bring -- there's a corporate suit and a personal suit, and faucet has to bring in another lawyer. he doesn't want to. he's the kind of person who just does everything himself and me tick cue louse and obsessed with detail. he's got to be number one. he did not want another lawyer, but he had to. he brought in his friend, bruce stanley, who was a poor boy from west virginia, very similar background to blankenship's. bruce wanted to be a journalist, went to west virginia
university, he was a journalist in 1984-85 for the williamson daily news in southern west virginia when there was a big strike. when blankenship was the ceo there, that was the key to the strike, and stanley saw balancenship begin the destruction of the union right there. >> host: right. they had crossed paths. >> guest: right. he was devastating to what happened to the state he loved, but he was so corrupt -- so demeaning what was happening, he wanted to get out. he wanted to do something else. we got a law degree, comes to pittsburgh, becomes a lawyer, neverments to go back, visits family, of course, and one of the brothers is a coal miner, the other a mine inspector, a real old west virginia family, but he decides he's going to take this case. the two of them, these two -- this totally odd couple, you'd think they would be at each other's throats 234 five minutes, but they take this, and then they become obsessed with
bringing blankenship down. >> that's interesting; right? without getting too much into the legal region of this, there's two cases, one in virginia, one in west virginia proving to be the crux of a problem later down the line; right? why were there two cases, briefly? >> guest: the first was a narrow contract dispute. >> host: because one of the companies, harmin, caperton's company, was incorporated in virginia? >> guest: the coal mine was in virginia. >> host: i see. >> guest: it's a contract dispute. >> host: right. >> guest: and that by itself was a lawyer for that, and he won $6 million for the corpse, but there was another dispute, a larger dispute, a tort dispute, basically, that they set off to destroy, and they had to contract, but they set out to destroy the harmin mind, destroy it, and destroy the mine. that was the much larger suit,
and that took place in west virginia where caperton had his office doing most of the business, and there's no problem with this. they went to trial in 2002, in logan, west virginia, had a six week trial in which masi, they didn't argue the truth or falsehood to do this, but spent six weeks destroying caperton permly. >> host: it was a classic blame the victim ploy, wasn't it? >> guest: yeah. >> host: what did they say about caperton? it's not like -- they are an interesting character, and he was almost illogically positive, and i think without somebody like that, you know, without that perseverance, but on the other hand, they made misstep, and they -- this was something that the people never even dealt
with on the issues. >> host: in the lawsuit, the lawyers said, hey, this is like a -- they -- he was a lousy businessman, he was paying -- the union too much, owed too much, and they argued, oh, yes, it's gone down, we handled the lawsuit all these years, but it can turn around and be great. come down in the middle. that they would have muddled on for a few years, but unless they got that coal that was beyond them, unless a lot of good thinged happened, i don't know how successful they would have been, but they said, no, no, with the incredible optimism. the -- he -- what he did is when the mine was going down, he was building his dream house. his father was in this -- now a resort community in southern west virginia, but his father built, and went bankrupt personally and a corporate bankruptcy, and he was not going
to have money coming, and he made money this year and threw it into the dream house personnished it beautifully, and he should have -- his lawyers argued he should have gotten the job, and should have gone away and done something else, but the pride and optimism that made him continue to fight this was the pride that he's in the house and not working all these years, and he lived fairly well. he later got $2 million in a hedge fund. he was living very well all these years as he was fighting this. >> host: right. he was also, you know, also had all these debts using the money to pay off. >> guest: enormous debts. displs what's interesting, you know, you mentioned that a few times in the book, the unwillingness to get a job, and there's some people like bruce stanley who left west virginia because of what they saw, but there's others like what is caperton going to do? the whole history of coal in
west virginia, exert a particular poll on them, you know, blankenship too left west virginia and done things in corporate america only to come back. what do you think that is? why does that resinate with people? why do you think it was so important to caperton to make a go of basically a failing mine on his own? i mean, when he bought it, it was in worse sthaip than later on. >> guest: well, this weekend, the roads are going to be full of people going back to west virginia, people that can't get a job there, but love this place, and i love west virginia, the humanity of the people, the unpretentiousness, and it's not a place where showoffs are appreciated, pretend you are something you are not, they can't stand that. it's not just about coal, but beyond that. blankenship, to his credit, is the one coal attendant, and when
he was a poor boy, looked up the hill, that's where the most richest and most powerful person lived, and he wanted to live in that house, and for over two decades, still has that house. >> host: right. so there's the -- the suit in caperton, and the lawyers present the narrative, and blankenship, did blanken ship testify? >> guest: yes. if you're on the other side, you love him to testify because he's a truth teller in his way, and maybe not in the courtroom, but he thinks he's right, and he thinks, truthfully, that he
didn't have any capital, and the union mine with all the obligations that come with the union mine and all the past debts, these obligations, the unions, the retirement, and health that a.q. -- caperton picked up with the mine, and he said, no way could the mine be successful. that's how he saw the world. >> host: so how did that case end up, the first case? >> guest: well, the first case -- >> host: well, the second case. the first case -- >> guest: is $6 million. >> host: and the second case in west virginia. >> guest: is six week, and $50 million verdict, an astounding verdict. >> host: in caperton's favor. > guest: and the well-controlled guy, doesn't show emotion, goes crazy. he comes out, rolls on the lawn, just crazy with excitement about it. he gets into the little restaurant and starts knocking hands on the wall, and bruce, from west virginia, he said, beware that celebrate todayings
but this is not over, and he certainly was right. >> host: so, and, you know what's interesting about it is that, you know, this is actually several cases so that there's a case that ends up then, and, you know, bruce stanley was prophetic, he knows the place, and so what happened next? >> guest: well, blankenship says bad things happened in my life professionally, but this is the worst thing that happened. he calls his employees "members" or the employees he likes, members, and sends a letter to the members saying this is dreadful, and i may have to leave the state because of this; is so terrible, and he vows to turn it over. he's going to win this, and in west virginia, there's no interimmediate court, you go to the west virginia supreme court, but it takes so long, several years for it to reach the point where it gets up to the supreme court, and in the meantime, there's an election in 2004 to the west virginia supreme court.
>> host: right, and so here's where the intrigue begins and that actually lead to the supreme court case because the supreme court case was not looking at whether masi wronged caperton in the coal deal. it was looking at what ended up happening at the state's supreme court; right? i found that fascinating, the characters, including somebody who would seem tangential to this, a young man named tony a rbock; right? >> guest: yeah. >> host: tell us what happened at that level that formed the basis of the ruling that we have now; right? >> guest: they decide, here's the selection, i want to elect the justice, and now, in his mind, he doesn't think he's vying on justice to vote on masi, but thinks a good conservative justice votes that way anyway, and so he wants somebody there in his mind to do that. >> host: right. there's five members on the court? >> guest: five members, right.
>> host: a liberal justice coasted to election, mcgraw, and what happened here? >> guest: mcgraw thinks he's going to win, nobody will destroy him, and this guy, brent binge min, a republican elected since the 1920s, so forget it, and blankenship will do what he can to bring the guy down, and he developed a strategy with political consultants where they need -- well, he's a member of the supreme court, and he is a moderate -- doesn't like the liberal justice, and she clearly would like to get rid of him. a case comes to the supreme court where a man called tony arbow, he had been -- a little boy who lived way up in the house, and i've been there with -- where he lives, and i can't tell you how bad it is. he was sexually molested by the
time he was three or four years old by other family members and friends. that was just what was done. to him, it was just, like, another kid goes and played baseball, that's what happened in this family in area, and when he was nine or ten, he sexually molested his younger brother, not thinking there was anything bad about it. at 14, the social services came and got them, and his younger brother said innocently says this is what happened, and tony is arrested, and he is sentenced, pleads guilty to one count, sentenced to 15-35 years in prison, and so after a number of years, this comes to the supreme court, and the liberal justice said enough this of, and they will give another chance, and in the western supreme court, they take turns.
the justice decides to write the majority opinion, which she doesn't believe in, and she writes in a circumspect careful way writing her minority opinion, her opinion, her objection to this in great detail, and in it, she gives a legal basis for the most vicious political -- one of the most vicious political campaigns in the american political history. tony has a -- in west virginia, he has a job, everything's going fine, and he comes out one morning and looks up, and there's a billboard saying mcgraw is a free child rapist, just devastated, walks a few blocks down the street, and there's another billboard. he was all over the state for this. he basically is destroyed. he's not only destroyed, but mcgraw is destroyed, but benjamin used this in the campaign, and blankenship uses
it to destroy him. >> host: so it was davis provided this sort of ammunition, and blankenship's money help deseminate this campaign or this spin on the decision. >> guest: no one in american history spent that in the election, no individual. >> host: you point out in the book that this is part of the trend happening in the country; right? there was a group calling justice of stake following political money coming into the judicial elections, and i think there was a point that was made that, you know, numbers cocht to increase every year, and what happened in west virginia was not up -- unusual to relation what was happening in the rest of the country; is that correct? >> guest: and now they get
more and more negative. the device that was used, that blankenship used to the -- to the -- that he involved -- you -- he could not give money to blank -- to benjamin permly, to his campaign, but he couldn't even talk to him. he had to just give the money for these negative campaigns, he had to have his own ads in order to do it so it's more and more negative, and all across the country, if you want to defeat somebody, look for something they voted on, some social issue that you can rally up the public for, and that's how you destroy them, and that's when the judges have to learn to be more and more careful what they vote for. the other side, in that election is not pure either. when they learn that -- it's a trial lawyers and the other side, and they want to have liberal justices to vote being judgments. two weeks before the election, it comes out that he's the one
giving them millions of dollars so they suddenly throw their money into it. one or two trial lawyers probably gave half million dollars a piece, and they just -- they had another device to doing it so it's anonymous, so let's say the election had gone the other way, one of the trial lawyers could have gone to justice mcgraw and say, i want you to know, i spent a half million electing you, i don't want the vote, but be the good, fair judge you've always been. >> host: we'll be right back after a short break. >> host: it the money well-spent in the election? >> guest: got the vote he
wanted, caperton verdict turned back, and he saved $70 million. >> host: he was legislated -- still there, by the way? >> guest: yes. >> host: elected, mcgraw defeated, and so the what was the essence of the decision just quickly on the appeal brought to the supreme court, and this goes back to the issue of the two lawsuits; right? >> guest: the justices all said it was egregious what had been done, that he had done wrong for caperton, but they found a technicality about where the -- they had this thing twice to turn the thing back, and it was -- the justices, the two justices that voted the other
way were articulate why they were doing this. they were looking. they were looking for a way to turn it back, and that was the device found. >> host: right. you know, people know that blankenship gave the money to get benjamin elected, and the appeal faucet and stanley brought, was it based on that, or were there other things going on that strength ped the appeal, the notion that judges should rescue themselves? > guest: if he rescued himself, i wouldn't have the book. they would have had another judge to do it, but the arrogant, his moral arrogance, just unbelievable, not to rescue himself. the other judge, spike maynard, a close front end of blankenship, one day, they heard rumors about the friendship, but he couldn't prove anything, and one day, he's told that there
are these -- he should come down to charleston to the office. there's something for him. he goes, gets this envelope, brings it back to pittsburgh, opens it up, and there are these pictures of blankenship and spike maynard, the judge, one of the judges who is ruling on this thing, and blankenship off in southern france together with mistresses. >> host: so the -- what made them think it should be in the supreme court or get the supreme court to listen given the fact the supreme court ends up hearing only 1% of the appeals made to it? >> guest: well, because dave's fond of saying how many times is just hung by a string, a narrow thread? this is just an example of that. they knew the odds were extremely part of getting, and
first of all, they had to have connections and tract record, and they knew when they got there, the judges turn down most things, and then to get the tough one. they had no choice. they just, you know, forced ahead. >> host: so in finding a lawyer to -- the first step is not to argue the case, the first step is to craft, i guess, a brief, you know, an appeal -- >> host: the first step is to get a lawyer to do it. >> host: right, but why did they pick that? >> guest: the best they could get, the highest is ted olson, the leading conservative appellate lawyer, and he has a lot of big corporate clients,
and you think it's not an issue, at that point, you think this is the guy, they whatted him and took a long time for he agreed to do it. >> host: anything pivotal? what helped him make up the mind? >> guest: there's more and more pub publicity, and it was helpful when an abc producer went down to the headquarters, and blankenship with the camera, and blankenship came out and pushed him and knocked him against the car, and all this is tapedded. >> host: he was man handled by blankenship. >> guest: so all the publicity. >> host: in saying that, i recall that, you know, olson was intrigued by the case, but felt like he didn't have enough scope that that needed to have
national ramifications, and i guess the publicity helped too. >> guest: he thought there was national ramifications and thought sooner or later the court would have to deal with the issue, but the court -- i mean, they are sitting there, choosing the cases that they think are appropriate to deal with some issue that they sense is going to have to come before the court, and for years, these issues that dealt with finances and judicial elections perk lated up, and the judge -- percolating up, and the judges didn't want to deal with it, and they will not deal with this one, partially because it's west virginia, but partially because in the legal record, there are no federal cases cited. it's local, and just state court cases about west virginia, so even after olson took it, he thought they are not going to accept this, and so benjamin in the arrogant foolishness writes
a conquering opinion, and a lengthy, contentious opinion where he throws in every federal case imaginable. i can't imagine what it's like for ben to read the book and without him it would have never reach the supreme court. >> host: it's interesting because there's all these twists of fate and paths crossing like stanley and blankenship and the similarity of the backgrounds and, you know, and then the picture showing up that show, you know, that not just one justice might have been compromised and needed to rescue himself, but that maynard, because of the long relationship with blankenship, perhaps, should have rescued himself to all these things, and so the book begins with that day at the supreme court, and so then that
means they got their hearing; right? >> guest: right. >> host: tell us what happened then? i mean, they timely got their -- >> guest: the supreme court says they can't do this. you can't do this. >> host: the decision came down quickly, didn't it? it was not like -- >> guest: no, it was about two months or whatever. it was fairly standard. >> host: oh, okay, i thought it came down more quickly than in june. it>> guest: it was a 5-4 decision, and they didn't talk about the dollar amount, and they can't spend this or that, and it's still vague, and back it goes, and mind you, the first time it turned down, and the second time the photos come out, and blankenship and the judge
just maynard together in southern france turned back again, so now it's back there for the third time. >> host: back to west virginia? >> guest: right. by the time the supreme court did this, you'd think now the court is going to find the other way, but, no this is another basis. >> host: by another basis? >> guest: every time there's a narrow technical basis, which is kind of absurd. >> host: what's interesting is this, you know, this did create a notion of parameters, and, i mean, they are not clear parameters, but talking about even the hint or impression of the conflict of interest that a judge needed to recues him or herself, but that doesn't mean it ended well for caperton or his attorneys. >> guest: well, i think it will end well. >> host: it's ongoing? >> guest: well, what happened
that they were told, basically, you can't try this in west virginia, so they went back to virginia. they thought, well, we'll try it in virginia, and they took it to circuit court in virginia, and i was there that day when they argued it, and now masi has these brilliant young attorneys from washington, yale, law review-type attorneys, and who look like when they started this, and the circuit judge rules, no, you can't try this. it doesn't belong in virginia. >> host: right. >> guest: they, again, there's this threat again, take to the supreme court of virginia. >> host: pending hearing there? >> guest: no, i'm thinking, no way, this is a conservative court, are they going to let this thing -- the yellow pages of this thing after 14 years, are they going to let this be tried in their state? no way. a few weeks ago, they ruled
namingsly that the trial could go ahead, and in the 27-page opinion is magnificent. >> host: really? >> guest: it's not couched in all this legal woulds or could haves. it's a bold statement saying what was done was wrong, and it is basically a condemnation of the supreme court of west virginia, and it is a proud statement of what the law can be, and now i give a -- cohosted a party for andrew young months ago, and at the dinner party, they got up to say we're all democrats, great. and another said i don't see the world that way, and when there's the civil rights movement, let's say very often were republican judges, when we're in their territory, we're okay. now, those republican judges may not have been procivil rights,
but they were prolaw, prothe constitution, and so is this virginia court, and it's a proud moment they ruledded this way. >> host: hearing the case argued for six weeks in west virginia before it was turned down by the west virginia courts; is that correct? it's about -- it's the personal case? >> guest: it's a personal case. >> host: right. >> guest: it's going to go -- either they settle or go to court, go to trial. >> host: right, right. you know, how much is that -- 50 million; right? >> guest: yes. >> how much is that now with interest? >> guest: well, that 50 million is thrown out. >> host: how much would it have been? >> guest: 80 or 90 million, but whatever they decide, say the jury every time a jury heard this, heard it in virginia, heard it in west virginia, and
the supreme court of west virginia in the first time, they all said this is wrong, and in all likelihood it's wrong, but the question is how much money do they give caperton, and whatever they give him, there's interest, and, in fact, it's not just caperton personally, but most of it goes to the people owed money, they owe money. they get money back, but whatever they give, there's interest for all these years, you know, since the mine was shut down. >> host: and so the case in virginia, is that a jury case -- >> guest: yeah. >> host: okay, so -- but the interesting thing is also that faucet and stanley, they just didn't rest with the case that
spent so much time and energy anyway, but went after blankenship in other realms because blankenship wronged people who came to see, you know, faucet and stanley, as potential champions of the cause; right? tell us about the other areas they ventured into. >> guest: faucet took two cases, wheel and pit was the last steel makers in america, and with coal and steel makers, you need the coal regularly. the furnaces need heat the all the time, and if they are cold, they are finished, costing millions to rebuild them, and with the contract, they made several times the amount of money selling that, this -- that coal to the chinese, other
foreign buyers. he's a bottom line guy. he doesn't do that wildly without thought. he sits there, and he figures out if i do this, if they sue me, they are probably beginning to sue me about this, what does that cost me? what will we talk? is it worth -- will i make enough money selling overseas for this? >> host: but what was so interesting about that is that, you know, it's the same thing in caperton too. the two daises are not dissimilar, but it's rather than making a clean break and saying, you know, we found a customer to pay us more, good luck to you. >> guest: right. >> host: he strings his clients or -- along, and leads them to their demise. >> guest: exactly. >> host: a strange way of doing business. >> guest: and here's this steel maker that started at a time of the american revolution, and because of this, the company's destroyed, and ends
up, all that's left of it, there was the steel makers, but they took the case. he won over $200 million in a courtroom in west virginia, and you'd think that would stop blankenship, but he then shorted him again. >> host: right. >> guest: and blankenship -- and they sue blankenship again, and just before they are going to trial, they settle. i don't know how much it is, but my guess is it's pretty close to a hundred million dollars. >> host: was it too late? >> guest: it's too late. it's too late. the jobs that anchored that area are gone. >> host: i mean, it is interesting for somebody, you know, blankenship keeps talking about wanting to create jobs, but there's so much destruction in his wake. there's a different kind of destruction that bruce stanley held him to account for at the mine, and so can you tell us
about bruce stanley's involvement? >> guest: as much as bruce stanley's going to fight caperton, he doesn't the one one-thousandth, and the two widow, especially one of them, delores bragg, and these two -- these two miners, a fire in the mine in 2006 in which two miners parrished. bruce stanley took their case with another lawyer, tonya friedman, from west virginia, and they took her to trial, and that week long trial is the most devastating critique of masi in which all the safety procedures were wrong, the ventilation went backwards, the hoses, the fire protection, the hoses, they didn't screw in, and there was no water. there's no water pressure. they were supposed to have safety drills.
they faked the safety drills, just devastating. >> host: they called the attorney for the two women; right? >> guest: yes. that's how much he wanted to do this. >> host: right. >> guest: on the last day -- what turned out to be the last day of the trial, he had done a video deposition with blankenship in which all he did was he read these memos that blankenship had written. >> host: that was the interesting thing about blankenship. he didn't do the e-mail. you had a concrete paper trail of faxes with the head written comments and answers; right? >> guest: yes. stapply had that, and he read those into the court record, and he just kept simply asking blankenship, is that right? he wouldn't let him comment or anything, and it was just devastating, and so that next -- that evening, the lawyers called and settled it, but -- but the the federal and state government settledded with them. they finded them something like $3 million. >> host: chump change.
>> guest: chump change to them, and part of the settlement is there would be no criminal charges against the executives. >> host: right. >> guest: now, i submit if the federal government had done what was right then, and the u.s. attorney in charleston had dope what was right, and put federal and criminal charges against them that were just sitting there, ready, ready to be filed, if they had done that, the 29 miners who died in upper big branch would not have died. >> guest: because what happened there was an explosion four years later for big branch, and then there was a review done by the pam headed -- panel headed up, and what did the panel tie big branch to what happened because it did, didn't it? >> guest: we, and it tied it in part because bruce stanley is a shrewd guy with contacts with the people and the media, and he helpedded them connect what happened with eric, with what happened in upper big branch, it's the same thing. it's the same violations, and he
got them to think about the culture of masi that it was not just the individual violations, but a culture created, caring just about the bottom line in the most narrow self-receiverring way, and that was a destructive, dangerous business. >> host: so after upper big branch, what ended up happening to don blankenship and masi? >> guest: again, largely in part because of faucet and more because bruce stanley, blankenship couldn't run away now because it was tied to eric coma. if not tied to eric, blankenship would be sitting there right now at masi, but because these two things came together, and it was such devastating criticism of him, he had to retire, and m organization si was sold, and the whole -- there was blankenship's life work no longer exists, and -- >> host: got out pretty well, though. >> guest: well, don't storm that over. there's a new -- louis goodwin
is the new attorney in west virginia. he's from the old west virginia family, his father was a judge, his wife is a top political figure in the state, and he's begun a serious systematic investigation into this, and he's -- >> guest: in upper big branch? >> guest: started with upper big branching convicted three employees op that, and now he's got a fourth employee that there was not an upper big branch, there's another mine, and who is convicted of being part of conspiracy to violate the -- and when he was asked who told you to do these things in the courtroom, he said the ceo and the ceo is done blankenship, and so blankenship has gone crazy in some ways, and his website, he says that if i go to prison, it'll be political reasons.
he's accusing roberts, the head of this, as potentially being a murderer, of murdering a strikebreaker in 1985. these are not rational, smart things to do. they are not things that any lawyer tell your client to do, but he's doing them, and i think he's sitting there nervously anticipating that he's going to be indicted. >> host: there's another shoe that you expect. >> guest:'s shoe. >> host: what's interesting about is it one of the things that struck me is that this drive to produce more and more coal and cutting corners to get to the point, this was one of the criticisms that was made against bp after the deepwater horizon, led to the death of 11 workers; right? >> guest: right. >> host: there's this drive to
produce energy we consume as a country that make a lot of people very rich, and the question is, you know, what's the cost of the production? i mean, it's amazing because, you know, there may be another state for don blankenship if the case goes on, but lives have been destroyed in the wake. where is tony now? where are the people workers worked in the west virginia court who they thought might have had pictures and given the pictures of maynard and blankenship to stanley? >> guest: well, tony may be getting out of prison. i talk to tony every week from prison, and that's -- this has nothing to do with the story, but i find it extremely offensive that is in american prisons the phone systems are controlled by giant corporations that charge money, call collect,
no big deal to me, but you'd think of families and kids and children that it's so expensive, and you think if you want the people to not go in prison, you want them to talk to families, but they don't. i talk to tony every week, and he said, well, larry, the book can get me out of prison. i said, forget it, tony, the only way you get out is if the governor pardons you, and he won't because of the nature of what you've done. , too controversial. well, he's getting a hearing now, and the judge and prosecutors read the book, and everybody's read the book, and i think-a chance he'll get out. the women, the potential whistle blowers, one -- two of these -- one of the men, they were fired. >> host: they were fired. >> guest: they were fired. >> host: the miners who had been at the mine, where are they
now, the 145 people caperton had? >> guest: i talked to them, and some of them are working, a lot are not. they had forgotten. you know, like a forgotten storiment one of the worse things blankenship did is mining is ending in the world the way it was, and the biggest sanes are gone, natural gas is cheaper, okay? >> host: right. >> guest: that region should be preparing for a different kind of future. instead, thanks in part to blankenship, created this idea that we're friends of coal and the true friends of coal don't perk any criticism. you can want talk of the al terntive future. the enemy's obama, the environmentalists, and they are, you know, it's the government, it's the regulators. they refuse to look at reality, and they put -- they put back the future for dads. >> host: the -- so what is
next for david faucet, bruce stanley, and caperton? >> guest: well, bruce and dave love -- well, there's a party at reid smith, their law firm in pittsburgh -- >> host: right. >> guest: and they must be a part of equation too because many law firms in america would have dropped this a long time ago. >> host: i was surprised how long they stuck with it. >> guest: they stuck with it, and 5 group of partners would have said these guys down the hall, working hard, booking all these hour, and the two guys are draping our money. >> host: getting paid, contingency, millions of dollars they have not been paid yet. >> guest: right. that did not happen. just the opposite. when we had the party, there's over 150 people there, so proud of this, thinking this is their case as well, and so they are going to hang in. bruce, i mean, beware in west virginia. if you're a malfactor, if you've
done wrong, bruce is going to be there. he loves doing that. >> host: went back to west virginia. >> guest: he's gone back. >> host: this a different way. >> guest: i talked to him yesterday. he is driving back from charleston, a three-hour drive, and i said, you know, bruce, this is your office, this office, this drive back and forth, and he said that was it. he wants to do that. dave, at that party, dave almost lost it when he was talking. he almost lost it because he looked out, and there was his son who was a baby, just born when this, and now he's over six-foot tall teenager looking at his dad, and dave said all my years of my life devoted to this, and it's still going on. he loves to fight for justice. he loves to be on that side of the book and that, to me, it the most important part of the book. i want young lawyers and law students to read this. there's a nobility to the law, and to being a lawyer, and that
just can't be forgotten. it seems so rarely, and you see it in the lives of the two men, and that's what they want to do and continue doing it, and they are proud of what they have done, and the law firm's proud of it. >> host: the dn and at the -- at the end of the day, what has caperton gotten out of this? >> guest: well, they are the most productive years of his life. >> host: that he spent on this case. >> guest: that he spent on this case. i mean, he's 60 years old now working as a coal salesman, okay? he had to get a job, finally, and if he gets some enormous verdict, monetary verdict with that, will that make it worthwhile? i just don't know. i can't say that for him. >> host: did the fact that the supreme court made this decision because of his perseverance, did that make that worthwhile for
him? >> guest: he's proud, this case, caperton, will be known as long as the american justice system exists that his name is on that case. he's extremely proud of that and proud that ted olson took the case, that he sat in the courtroom, the supreme court that day and heard that. >> host: thank you so much for joining us. the book is "the price of justice," a great read, thank you. >> guest: thank you. that was "after words,book" toff's signature programs in authors are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers, legislator, and others familiar with the material. it airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. sunday, and 12 a.m. on monday. you can watch "after words" online at booktv.org and click on "after words" in the book tv series and tommics list on the