White-Collar Crime

Ex-judge is sentenced to 4 years in federal corruption case

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A former longtime West Virginia judge was sentenced Monday to four years and two months in prison for his role in a Mingo County corruption case.

Comparing Michael Thornsbury’s actions to those of a Third World dictator, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas E. Johnston said he would have given Thornsbury another 10 months in the Charleston case but for his cooperation with prosecutors, the Charleston Gazette reports.

Thornsbury pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate a defendant’s constitutional right to counsel. Prosecutors said Thornsbury participated in a scheme in which an unsophisticated defendant named George White was persuaded to change lawyers and take a plea to prevent him from providing information to the feds about drugs he had allegedly sold to former sheriff Eugene Crum. (The sheriff was later shot to death in his patrol vehicle.)

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “County prosecutor is charged, resigns, but claims credit for judge’s plea in related corruption case”

ABAJournal.com: “3 lawyers probed in ethics case after county judge, prosecutor and magistrate are federally charged”

ABAJournal.com: “Feds seek ‘very substantial’ sentence for corrupt judge who had ‘enormous power’ in his county”

Charleston Gazette: “Immunity given to 2 in Mingo corruption inquiry”

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