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Judge in West Virginia faces second conspiracy case

By CNN Staff
updated 2:04 PM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mingo County is in southern West Virginia
  • The latest conspiracy case involves a late sheriff's alleged activities
  • The earlier case involved an alleged effort to falsely implicate a man

(CNN) -- The judge in southern West Virginia who faces federal conspiracy charges after being accused of plotting to frame his secretary's husband in various crimes has been charged in another conspiracy case, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Thursday.

Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury allegedly conspired with other county elected officials to cover up evidence of alleged "illegal drug use and other misconduct" by late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum," Goodwin said.

A Mingo County drug defendant earlier this year began to provide the FBI with information about the misconduct, Goodwin said in a news release.

Crum learned that the informant and his attorney were providing information about Crum to the FBI, the release said. As a result, Crum, Thornsbury and other Mingo elected officials "conspired" to protect Crum and stop the informant, who was referred to in the charging document as G.W., it said.

"They arranged to offer G.W. 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," the release said.

Earlier this year, Thornsbury pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges stemming from an alleged plot to falsely implicate the husband of his secretary after she broke off an affair with the judge. Thornsbury's trial date was set for October 15, and he was released on a $10,000 bond.

Federal documents allege that a five-year vendetta included plotting to plant drugs under the husband's car, recruiting a state trooper to arrest the man on bogus theft charges, and persuading a police officer to arrest him on groundless assault and battery charges.

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