Goodwin Charges Mingo Judge in Second Conspiracy

Updated 5 years ago From a Release by U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of WV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - U.S. Attorney  Booth Goodwin  charged Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury in a  second conspiracy to deprive a Mingo County resident of his constitutional  rights. In a court filing this morning, Goodwin alleged that Thornsbury  conspired with other Mingo County elected officials to cover up evidence of  illegal drug use and other misconduct by late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.

Earlier this year, according to  Goodwin, a Mingo County drug defendant began to provide the Federal Bureau of  Investigation (FBI) with information about misconduct by then Sheriff Crum,  including illegal drug use and election law violations. The drug defendant is identified  in today’s charging document as “G.W.” Crum learned that G.W., along with  G.W.’s attorney, were providing information about Crum to the FBI. Crum and  other Mingo elected officials, including Thornsbury, conspired to protect Crum  and to stop G.W. from informing to the FBI. They arranged to offer G.W. a  favorable plea deal if he would fire his attorney, who was assisting G.W.’s  communication with federal authorities, and replace him with an attorney chosen  by Crum and the other elected officials.     

In the face of this coercion,  today’s charging document alleges, G.W. fired his attorney, which the officials  involved believed would protect Crum from federal investigation and public  embarrassment. 

Today’s charge was filed in a court  document known as an “information.” A defendant may be charged through an  information only with the defendant’s consent, so the filing of an information  often indicates that a defendant has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

The investigation is being conducted  by the FBI and the West Virginia State Police. Counsel to the United States  Attorney Steven Ruby and Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn are  handling the prosecution.  

Note: An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A  defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the  government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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