Last updated: December 26. 2013 4:19PM - 2756 Views
Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

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Rachel Baldwin


CHARLESTON - A civil suit against former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury is moving forward, after Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tod Kaufman ruled that the former elected official, who faces criminal charges in a separate case, was properly served the paperwork pertaining to the case.

Thornsbury’s argument was based on the fact that the paperwork was delivered to an address where he no longer lived. The home he was referring to was the marital residence occupied by his wife, who has since filed for divorce.

According to information the Williamson Daily News received, the former judge’s wife refused to accept the court filings on behalf of her apparently estranged husband, and the process servers reportedly left them in the mailbox at the home.

The civil lawsuit was filed against him and several others by his former secretary, Kim Woodruff, and her husband, Robert, after Thornsbury allegedly tried to frame Robert Woodruff for several crimes that he did not commit in order to continue an affair he was having with Kim Woodruff. According to information released in the federal indictment handed down in August, Thornsbury stands accused of asking that drugs be planted in the vehicle of his romantic rival and also had bogus charges brought against Woodruff for theft and assault. The former judge allegedly solicited help from several close friends and allies to complete these criminal acts.

The criminal charge that was originally filed against Thornsbury regarding these allegations was dropped against in federal court in exchange for a guilty plea in a separate corruption case involving the prosecution of George White, who was arrested by the late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum on drug charges. Crum served as the sheriff of Mingo County from Jan. 1 until April 3 of this year, when he was fatally shot by Tennis Maynard.

Allegedly, the judge and others conspired to keep White from sharing damaging information with the FBI against the sheriff in exchange for a lighter sentence on drug charges to which he is said to have agreed and pleaded guilty. Since then, Mingo County Interim Circuit Court Judge John Cummings threw out White’s guilty plea but did not set aside the charges against the defendant, which means he will still have to face them.

Thornsbury’s sentencing on the felony charges of violating White’s civil rights was scheduled for next month but has now been rescheduled for April 13, per a request from federal investigators, who claim the former judge is cooperating with them and giving them information concerning other elected officials, who are said to include fellow members of a Democratic faction known as Team Mingo.

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