Prosecutors identified Hughart as having served as president of Massey's Green Valley "resource group," which included White Buck. But Hughart also worked for Massey for more than 20 years, serving as an officer or a director at more than two dozen subsidiaries, according to public records.
In April, Goodwin's office revealed in court documents in a civil case that former Massey Energy executives and board members "may be, or may become" targets in the criminal investigation. So far in the probe, three people have pleaded guilty and a jury convicted a fourth.
Last year, Berger twice delayed the sentencing of former Upper Big Branch Mine superintendent Gary May to give prosecutors more time to develop evidence based on May's testimony. May pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to thwart the federal government's mine safety efforts. He was sentenced in January to 21 months in prison, three years of probation and a $20,000 fine.
Former UBB miner Thomas Harrah was sentenced to 10 months in jail after he admitted to faking a foreman's license when he performed key mine safety examinations at the mine between January 2008 and August 2009, and then lied to investigators about his actions.
Berger sentenced a former Upper Big Branch security director, Hughie Elbert Stover, to 36 months in jail after Stover was convicted of two felonies: Making a false statement and obstructing the government probe of the mine disaster.
Four government and independent investigations blamed the Upper Big Branch deaths on a pattern by Massey Energy of violating federal standards concerning mine ventilation and the control of highly explosive coal dust, both of which set the stage for a small methane ignition to turn into a huge coal-dust-fueled explosion.
Goodwin reached a deal not to prosecute Alpha Natural Resources for any Upper Big Branch criminal liabilities that it inherited when it purchased Massey Energy in June 2011. That deal required the company to spend $80 million during the next two years on mine safety improvements and create a $48 million mine safety research trust fund. Alpha also agreed to pay $46.5 million in restitution to families of the disaster victims and $35 million to resolve pending Massey safety fines, including $10.8 million levied for violations related to the Upper Big Branch explosion.
Goodwin's deal allowed federal officials to pursue potential criminal cases against any individuals -- including Massey executives -- for violations related to the mine disaster.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.