MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A West Virginia judge already facing corruption allegations has been accused in a new conspiracy federal prosecutors say was cooked up to protect a now-deceased sheriff from revelations that he'd bought drugs.
The scheme laid out in court documents also involves a prosecutor and a commissioner in Mingo County, a coalfields community along the Kentucky border that's long been plagued by corruption.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said the goal of the plot was to stop a confidential informant from telling the FBI about his drug deals with late Sheriff Eugene Crum by putting the dealer behind bars.
Suspended Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury was charged in an information, signaling he is cooperating with prosecutors and may plead guilty.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.