Criminal Justice

Judge indicted; feds say he tried to frame romantic rival for fake crimes

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A West Virginia judge has been federally indicted, accused of attempting to interfere with the work of a grand jury and a state trooper in an attempt to frame a romantic rival for crimes he didn’t commit.

Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury is charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday with abusing his power and with conspiracy against a person’s rights, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors say Thornsbury was having an affair with an unidentified married woman, When she tried to end the relationship, Thornsbury tried to frame her husband to get him out of the picture, authorities say. The judge is accused of participating in a conspiracy to plant drugs on the husband and, when that didn’t work, getting a state trooper to file a complaint that falsely accused the husband of larceny.

Thornsbury allegedly put a county employee, who was also a friend of his, in charge of a grand jury investigation of the husband. It issued subpoenas in an effort to get information about the husband from local companies.

The judge’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, the AP says.

This April, in the same county, Sheriff Eugene Crum was fatally shot while eating lunch in his parked squad car outside the courthouse. Suspect Tennis Melvin Maynard is now facing first-degree murder charges, and his trial is set for October, the Associated Press reported.

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