WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


Former Mingo Prosecutor Michael Sparks Pleads Guilty

Reported by: Send eMail Bob Aaron
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 18, 2013 2:10 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 19, 2013 9:31 AM EST

EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

Sparks Pleads Guilty
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Former Mingo county prosecutor Michael Sparks pleaded guilty Monday in a federal corruption probe.

Sparks, 44, is accused in an alleged scheme to protect former Mingo Sheriff Eugene Crum from being exposed about a drug deal.

Prosecutors allege Sparks, former commissioner David Baisden, 66, and former circuit judge Michael Thornsbury, 57, offered a lighter sentence if an alleged drug dealer fired his lawyer and hired one they preferred.

Baisden pleaded guilty to an unrelated federal charge in connection with a scheme to illegally extort a discount from a Mingo County tire store. Baisden resigned from the Mingo County Commission in October. He faces up to 20 years in prison when is sentenced on Jan. 14, 2014, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Thornsbury previously pleaded guilty in October for his role in the scheme to protect Crum and deprive G.W., the alleged drug dealer, of his rights. Thornsbury faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 13, 2014, according to the release.

Sparks made his plea in federal court in Charleston.

“Prosecutors are the representatives of the people. Instead of advancing the interests of the good people of Mingo County, Mr. Sparks chose to roll over for the special interests of a corrupt political faction,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Earlier this year, a Mingo County drug defendant, identified as “G.W.,” began to provide the FBI with information about alleged misconduct by then Sheriff Crum, including illegal drug use and election law violations.

Crum learned that G.W., along with G.W.’s attorney, wase providing information about Crum to the FBI. Crum and other Mingo elected officials, including Sparks and Thornsbury, carried out a plan to protect Crum and to stop G.W. from informing to the FBI. They arranged to offer G.W. a favorable plea deal if he would fire his attorney, identified as “C.W.,” who was assisting G.W.’s communication with federal authorities, and replace him with an attorney chosen by Crum and the other elected officials, according to the release.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the West Virginia State Police.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
WV Capitol Police Officer Kills Copperhead On Capitol Grounds
News
Jul. 24, 2014 1:00 PM EDT
A state Capitol police officer has killed a copperhead ...
Full News Story

MU To Paint The Capital City Green
News
Jul. 24, 2014 12:32 PM EDT
The capital city will be seeing green, kelly green ...
Full News Story and Video

New Work Requirement Coming For Healthy People Who Receive Food Stamps
News
Jul. 24, 2014 1:02 PM EDT
Eyewitness News' sister station reported that it's ...
Full News Story


News WV Organizations To Push For Anti-Cancer Vaccines
Jul. 24, 2014 10:49 AM EDT
News Ukrainian Prime Minister Resigns
Jul. 24, 2014 11:54 AM EDT
News France's Foreign Minister Says Missing Air Algerie Flight "Probably Crashed"
Jul. 24, 2014 11:02 AM EDT
News More Than 8,000 WV Consumers Receiving Refunds
Jul. 24, 2014 10:46 AM EDT
News Process Slow For Picking Huntington Police Chief
Jul. 24, 2014 10:11 AM EDT
News Three Face Charges After Woman Claims She Was Robbed With Sawed-Off Shotgun
Jul. 24, 2014 12:29 PM EDT
News WV Capital Region Takes Aim At Heroin
Jul. 24, 2014 9:37 AM EDT
News WV Plans Vigil Seeking Gaza Strip Peace
Jul. 24, 2014 9:34 AM EDT
News Man Arrested After Police Find Mobile Meth Lab
Jul. 24, 2014 11:32 AM EDT
News GM Issues Recalls For More Than 700,000 Vehicles
Jul. 24, 2014 8:57 AM EDT
News Push America Rolls Through Capital City
Jul. 24, 2014 8:59 AM EDT
News WV Healthy Kids Host Thursday Workshop
Jul. 24, 2014 8:19 AM EDT
News WV Man Sues GM Over Wife's Crash Death
Jul. 24, 2014 7:56 AM EDT
News Man Arrested, Accused Of Kicking Pregnant Girlfriend In Stomach
Jul. 24, 2014 8:46 AM EDT
News Class-Action Suit Filed Against Dirty Girl Mud Run Owners, After Refunds Refused
Jul. 24, 2014 9:15 AM EDT
News Man Charged After Police Say He Exposed Himself To Two Girls
Jul. 24, 2014 11:46 AM EDT
News Rescue Group Nursing Severely Injured Cat Back To Health
Jul. 24, 2014 11:53 AM EDT
News Two Arrested, Two Sought In Connection With Gallia Break-Ins
Jul. 23, 2014 11:26 PM EDT
News Driver Killed In Braxton Motorcycle Crash
Jul. 23, 2014 11:30 PM EDT
News Police Say Two Arrested After Breaking Into Condemned Meth House
Jul. 24, 2014 8:31 AM EDT
News School Boards Discuss Sharing Services
Jul. 23, 2014 11:28 PM EDT
News Library Seeks Public's Input
Jul. 23, 2014 11:28 PM EDT
News Preparations Under Way For Girls Night Out
Jul. 23, 2014 9:46 PM EDT
News Crash Leads To I-79 Lane Closure, Man Injured
Jul. 23, 2014 11:32 PM EDT
News Federal Government Agrees To Test Chemical For Long-Term Effects
Jul. 23, 2014 6:47 PM EDT
News Fire Marshals Say Arson Believed Cause Of Church Fire
Jul. 23, 2014 6:50 PM EDT
News Man Charged With Firing Shots Near School Pleads Guilty
Jul. 23, 2014 10:44 PM EDT
News Bond Reduction Denied For Shoot-Out Suspect
Jul. 23, 2014 6:52 PM EDT
News Renovated Kroger Hosts Grand Opening
Jul. 24, 2014 8:06 AM EDT
News NPS Assesses Impact Of WV Attractions
Jul. 23, 2014 5:36 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Copperhead killed on W.Va. Capitol grounds

A state Capitol police officer has killed a copperhead snake on the Capitol grounds in Charleston.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Pet food plant to open in Kentucky

A Canadian pet food company has broken ground on a planned manufacturing plant in southern Kentucky.
Full Story

Ohio News
Insurers owe more than $1.2M in refunds in Ohio

Federal officials say around 35,000 Ohioans will benefit from more than $1.2 million in refunds from insurance companies because of a provision in President Barack Obama's health care law.
Full Story







Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.