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Charleston Daily Mail - "Ketchum Uses Massey Lawyer In New Ad Spot"

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Location: Huntington, WV


Charleston Daily Mail - "Ketchum Uses Massey Lawyer In New Ad Spot"

A lawyer for Massey Energy in the state Supreme Court case that spawned a brushfire of controversy over justice recusals is an actor in the new Menis Ketchum ad.

Huntington lawyer D.C. Offut Jr. appears in the labor-backed Supreme Court candidate's latest television spot haggling with another lawyer and a judge in a staged bench conference.

Fellow Huntington lawyers John Cyrus and David Lockwood play the other parts. They speak only two words to get their points across: "mumbo" and "jumbo."

Ketchum, also a Huntington lawyer, appears towards the end of the ad, saying, "I'm tired of the mumbo jumbo in the legal system. Elect me, and I'll make them speak plain English."

The ad can be viewed at www.menisketchum.com/

Mumbo%20Jumbo.html.

Ketchum, a Democrat, said he doesn't believe Offut's appearance in the ad will jeopardize his union endorsements.

Massey is a non-union mining company.

"I am not worried at all," Ketchum said Wednesday. "I said on day one that I was a moderate and I wanted the support of both business and labor. And I have support from both business and labor. Everybody knew going in I was a moderate and would seek support of both sides."

So far, Ketchum has snagged endorsements from major labor groups, including United Mine Workers of America, the West Virginia Education Association, the state chapter of the AFL-CIO and two Teamster locals.

"I'm concerned no more about this than (Chief Justice Elliott) 'Spike' Maynard was worried about losing business support when he had a hundred-thousand-dollar fundraiser at the home of rich personal injury lawyer Scott Segal," Ketchum said.

Segal, also the husband of Justice Robin Jean Davis, hosted a fundraiser for Maynard in November last year at Segal's Quarry Ridge home.

Maynard reported raising $66,250 at the event and spending $4,226. Segal paid the campaign $512 for the remaining beverages.

Ketchum said Offut is a longtime friend of his and offered to let the candidate use the mock courtroom he has set up at his law firm. Offut volunteered to appear in the ad, Ketchum said.

"I never gave it any thought," Ketchum said. "D.C. Offut's a friend of mine. Can't I have friends? I don't pick friends on whether or not they're (Don Blankenship's) lawyers."

Offut was the lead lawyer for Massey on the recent Supreme Court case in which photos appeared of Maynard and Massey CEO Don Blankenship together in 2006 while vacationing on the French Riviera.

Both men maintain they were on separate vacations with companions and met up for a dinner or two. Maynard contends he paid his own way.

The photos were used as evidence to force Maynard to recuse himself from rehearing Massey's appeal of a $50 million jury verdict from Boone County. Ever since the photos appeared, they've been used to attack Maynard's impartiality as a justice.

Lawyers with the Harman Mining Co. said they got the photos anonymously and the source has never been revealed. The verdict Massey appealed came from a Harman lawsuit alleging Massey fraudulently pushed the company into bankruptcy.

Massey initially got the verdict overturned. But justices agreed to rehear the case, ultimately deciding again in Massey's favor. Maynard, who voted in favor of Massey in the original decision, opted out of rehearing the case because of the photo controversy.

Justice Larry Starcher's and Maynard's seats on the court are coming open next year.

In addition to Ketchum and Maynard, Democrats Margaret Workman and Bob Bastress and Republican Beth Walker are running for the court.


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