Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 12, 2012

Former Massey mine exec set to enter plea Jan. 16

Associated Press

BECKLEY — An ex-president of Massey Energy’s White Buck Coal Co. will enter a plea on conspiracy charges in January.

David Hughart is set to appear Jan. 16 before U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley.

Hughart is cooperating in a continuing investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, an April 2010 explosion at another former Massey operation that killed 29 men. Massey and the mine are now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.

Prosecutors say Hughart worked with unnamed co-conspirators to ensure miners at White Buck and other, unidentified Massey-owned operations got advance warning about surprise federal inspections many times between 2000 and March 2010.

That allegedly gave workers time to conceal life-threatening violations that could have led to citations and shutdowns.

Hughart faces up to six years behind bars.