WV Public Broadcasting Staff
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Wed October 2, 2013
Mingo Co. judge pleads guilty, resigns from office
Judge Michael Thornsbury pleaded guilty to federal charges for violating a Mingo County man’s Constitutional rights when attempting to cover up a drug deal.
The man, identified as G.W., was advised by his attorney to provide the FBI with information that Sheriff Eugene Crum bought drugs from him. Thornsbury was attempting to cover up the purchase and was charged with two counts of conspiracy for the scheme.
Along with pleading guilty, Thornsbury tendered his resignation as Mingo County Circuit Judge and consented to disbarment by the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
“A judge swears an oath to uphold the Constitution and to abide by the highest standards of integrity. For a judge to have violated someone’s Constitutional rights is really beyond the pail,” said u.S. Prosecuting Attorney Booth Goodwin after the hearing, “but to violate someone’s rights in order to obstruct a federal investigation, that’s really unthinkable.”
Thornsbury faces a maximum 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors agreed to also dismiss separate charges in which the former judge tried to frame his secretary’s husband.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 13, 2014. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.