Ashton Marra Published

Blankenship on Trial: Massey's Supposed Whistleblower Bill Ross


The sixth full week of the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been almost exclusively focused on Bill Ross, a key witness for the prosecution.

In this week’s episode of the podcast “Blankenship on Trial,” host Scott Finn discusses Ross’s testimony with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Ashton Marra and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hissam. 

Ross began the week with emotional testimony about his hopes for a change in the way Massey “did business.” His testimony focused on a 2009 memo from Massey attorney Stephanie Ojeda that contained Ross’s concerns with safety practices, a lack of training and the need for more miners underground. Prosecutors continually pointed out that Ross’s concerns were deemed confidential and kept secret at the company, calling him a “whistleblower that was silenced.”

In his cross examination, Ross testified he was not silenced for his criticisms of Massey. Instead, Ross said he openly discussed his ideas with Blankenship and continued working on plans, trying miner supervisors and expressing his opinions, even recommending ways to address the problems he saw.