Ex-Massey official gets 3.5 years in conspiracy

MGN Online

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - A former Massey Energy executive who admitted conspiring in an illegal advance-warning scheme at West Virginia coal mines will spend 42 months behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced former White Buck Coal president David Hughart in Beckley Tuesday on conspiracy charges that grew out of a criminal investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Though Hughart never worked at Upper Big Branch, he is cooperating in the continuing probe of the 2010 explosion that killed 29 men.

Hughart admitted he helped ensure miners at other Massey operations got illegal advance warning of surprise safety inspections, and he's implicated Massey CEO Don Blankenship in that conspiracy.

Massey is now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources. Blankenship denies any wrongdoing.

Hughart had faced up to six years in prison.

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