Coal Tattoo

Morning update: Ex-Massey official describes plea deal

This is an update Ken wrote while in court this morning.
Former Massey Energy official David Hughart remained on the stand for cross examination from Don Blankenship’s defense lawyer, Blair Brown.
Brown asked Hughart questions about a series of memos and emails in which Blankenship and other Massey officials pressed mine managers like Hughart to improve safety conditions and reduce Massey’s violations.
“You have to develop a plan to deal with this,” Blankenship said in one May 2009 document. “Do your job.”
Also Friday, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger allowed Brown to question Hughart about an incident the day before Hughart met with prosecutors to discuss a potential plea deal on mine safety charges.
Hughart admitted he was detained by police that day after he bought 120 painkillers he planned to use and distribute.
Hughart admitted he was never charged in that incident and subsequently entered into a plea deal with U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin in which he agreed to testify against Blankenship.
On redirect by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey, Hughart testified that he had previously been injured in a mining accident and was prescribed painkillers when that injury flared up. He said he became addicted to the pills after being on them for a period of four to five months.
Hughart said he received 10 months off his original 42-month sentence after completing the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s drug treatment program.