Associated Press Published

Former Coal Executive Begins Testifying Against Ex-CEO Boss


A former coal executive who was dealt a prison sentence for mine violations is testifying in the criminal trial for his old boss, ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, former Massey executive David Hughart began testifying as part of a plea deal.

In 2013, Hughart was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for conspiring in an illegal scheme to warn miners and other subsidiaries of surprise safety inspections. Hughart said he will be released December 12.

Hughart implicated Blankenship in the conspiracy during his plea hearing.

Blankenship is charged with conspiring to break mine safety laws and lying to financial regulators about safety practices at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Hughart didn’t work at Upper Big Branch.