EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMingo Prosecutor Files Response, Fighting To Keep His Law License
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Kallie Cart
Reported: Sep. 20, 2013 11:18 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 20, 2013 4:18 PM EDT
Williamson, Mingo Countty , West Virginia
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks is fighting to keep his law license.
Sparks filed a response Friday to a petition to remove his license that was sought Thursday by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The agency asked that Sparks' license be suspended after he was named in a corruption case against Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.
In his response, Sparks denies any wrongdoing. He has not been charged with a crime. Sparks asks the state Supreme Court before making a decision. Typically, the high court acts quickly in such cases.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel accused Sparks of engaging in a pattern of egregious misconduct. It says Sparks should have reported alleged illegal activity by the judge.
Sparks claims that while he suspected possible wrongdoing, filing a complaint against a judge without proof
would be "professional and political suicide."
The prosecutor also said in his response that he went to federal authorities and cooperated with their investigation, and he received no immunity for doing so.
Thornsbury's attorneys have indicated he will plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks, whose license faces possible suspension in connection with a Mingo corruption case, made statements on his Facebook page, defending his actions.
"I was shocked by the unfounded accusations against me in United States of America v. Michael Thornsbury,” Sparks posted on his Facebook page. “I specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs 9-18."
Sparks described Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury as “a sinister, vindictive womanizer who abused the powers of his judgeship in multiple attempts to falsely incriminate a romantic rival. There is evidence that Thornsbury has engaged in other criminal and unethical activity. I expected to be a target of false incrimination and vengeance since I substantially assisted the federal investigation of Thornsbury.”
The prosecutor also said George White is a “convicted drug dealer currently incarcerated at Southwestern Regional Jail on a sentence of up to 15 years for two felony drug convictions. White also forfeited $10,000.00 in cash. The disposition of White's charges was consistent with dispositions of prior similar cases during my tenure.”
The prosecutor’s remarks follow reports that the Office of Disciplinary Counsel wants the West Virginia Supreme Court to suspend Sparks’ law license after the prosecutor was named in the latest corruption case against Thornsbury.
A petition delivered Thursday said Sparks has engaged in a pattern of egregious misconduct. It also said he appears unable or unwilling to represent the best interests of the people of Mingo County.
The petition said Sparks has been under investigation by disciplinary counsel since Thornsbury was indicted in a separate criminal case last month. He is charged with trying to frame a romantic rival for crimes the man didn't commit.
Thornsbury is now charged with participating in a scheme involving Sparks to protect the former sheriff from revelations he had bought drugs from George White.
In another Facebook post, Sparks said he looks forward to defending himself.
“Although I have not been charged with any crime, I look forward to aggressively defending my integrity and refuting these unfounded accusations,” Sparks posted.
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