White-Collar Crime

Embattled judge takes conspiracy plea, resigns from bench and agrees to disbarment

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A now-former West Virginia judge accused of two unusual crimes has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in one case in exchange for having charges dropped in another.

Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury resigned from the bench Wednesday, then entered his plea later in the day in federal court in Charleston, the Associated Press reports.

The guilty plea came in a case in which the ex-judge is accused of helping to shield a local sheriff, now deceased, from claims that he had purchased drugs. Charges were dismissed in another case in which Thornsbury was accused of trying to frame a romantic rival for fictitious crimes.

Thornsbury’s lawyer, Stephen Jory, said Thornsbury has consented to disbarment.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge indicted; feds say he tried to frame romantic rival for fake crimes”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer disciplinary board seeks immediate suspension of county prosecutor’s license”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge to take plea in case linked to slain sheriff, US Attorney says; removal of prosecutor sought”

ABAJournal.com: “Couple sues indicted judge in state and federal court”

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