Friday, October 16, 2015

Former coal executive finishes testimony against ex-CEO boss

(AP) — A former coal executive who was sentenced to prison for mine violations testified that Massey Energy sometimes took shortcuts to produce coal under his old boss, ex-CEO Don Blankenship.

Ex-Massey executive David Hughart finished testifying in Blankenship's trial in Charleston federal court Friday.

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'll be released from a halfway house 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 at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.

Hughart didn't oversee that mine.