Jeff Jenkins/MetroNews

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin explains the charges against the two Mingo County elected officials.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury and Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden were released on $10,000 bond each Thursday¬†afternoon after being indicted on separate charges by a federal grand jury.

Federal prosecutors allege Thornsbury was persistent in his attempt to frame the husband of the judge’s ex-lover, who was also at one time the judge’s secretary.

(Read indictment of Judge Michael Thornsbury here)

(Read indictment of Commissioner Michael Baisden here)

The charge against Baisden focuses on attempted extortion. After he allegedly made sure the county no longer purchased tires from Appalachian Tire because the company wouldn’t give Baisden the same deal on tires for his personal vehicle that the company gave to governmental bodies under the state purchasing contract.

Both Thornsbury and Baisden made initial appearances before U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley who ordered them to return next Wednesday to be arraigned on the charges.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Thornsbury had an extra-marital affair for a few months in 2008 but when his secretary broke off the relationship the judge took action.

“Judge Thornsbury set off on a campaign to persecute his secretary’s husband,” Goodwin said.

Thornsbury allegedly first tried to have drugs planted under the truck of the husband. He asked his friend Jeff Cline to do it and even gave Cline a small container with illegal drugs inside. Thornsbury then arranged to have the truck searched but Cline eventually backed out of the scheme.

It’s then alleged the judge pressured State Trooper Brandon Moore to file a false criminal complaint against the husband over scrap metal he was allowed to take from his workplace. And even though Thornsbury, the indictment alleges, rigged a grand jury to get an indictment with an elaborate scheme that plan also failed.

Federal prosecutors said Judge Thornsbury struck again just last year when he learned the husband of the former secretary was a victim in a fight. The husband was eventually charged and the judge allegedly pressured the prosecutor to make sure the man received six months home confinement. The case was dismissed on the eve of the trial.

Goodwin said the federal government has a strong case against Thornsbury.

“We have numerous witnesses. We also have documentary evidence as with any case. We also have evidence that tends to corroborate both of those,” he said.

Goodwin would not elaborate on the possibility of other indictments coming from Mingo County corruption but he said the investigation isn’t over.

“Our efforts have culminated in these two indictments and our investigation is ongoing,” he said. “Should anyone have any evidence of further criminal activity that they wish to share with us they should not hesitate to do so,” Goodwin said.

Federal Magistrate Judge Tinsley told Thornsbury and Baisden they would be free on bond on several conditions including removing the guns they own from their homes. They were also told not to speak with a number of people who may be witnesses in their cases.


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  • The truth

    I hope if the judge is convicted of a felony that the state pulls his pension since that is allowable undue state law.

  • George

    We all know there is more information to come forward - and for the good of our society I hope all people with relevant information will continue to share with the US Attorney's office. Folks this is a chance to make things better. Like so many others I have a real sense of hopelessness at times, but please, if you have knowledge of misdeeds, do your part.

    • Shadow

      Another Snowden supporter. He was proved right yesterday and the NSA a bunch of cheats and liars.

  • Hillbilly

    Hope that judge gets life in jail, with no vaseline..

  • Daniel

    This isn't an isolated incident in WV. It's going on throughout the state. Buying votes, allowing outsiders (like Don Blankenship) to rape and pillage our natural resources, all while leaving the hard-working people to suffer the consequences. This is what a Democratic State will get you! Keep up the good work voters (sarcastic emoticon here). No damn wonder the rest of the nation looks down their noses at you! Yes, I am a native West Virginian and choose to work and live elsewhere. I simply couldn't handle the amount of ignorance that you people put up with. There's no excuse for it! If you continue to allow it, you deserve it!!!

  • Innocent ByStander

    I am stunned at some of the comments relating to political parties and Federal involvement...These men both used their voted political positions for personal use or gain...that is not correct. If each of us stood up like these witnesses did and fight corrupt politicians things would be much better in our state and nation. Keep telling what you know and rid these folks out of our government.

  • Teufel

    "Who will judge the judges"

  • Shadow

    Does anyone know why this was a Federal Crime? Some how I believe there is an amendment to the Constitution says that those things not covered are the property of the States. From what was covered by the article, I can find no reference to the charge in the Constitution. Another example of Federal Interference into the States business.

    • Matt

      That's because it is found in United States Code, not the Constitution. Baisden's crime is very petty for a federal charge. The FBI and USAO should be proud of themselves for that one.....

      • Shadow

        What was found in the US Code? Just because it is in the Code doesn't make it constitutional. Violating someone's Constitutional Rights is a Federal Crime? What a joke when they trample on the Second Amendment all the time in the States. The Feds got too many people in the wrong place. They should try DC!

  • Levelheaded

    Not in the article, but I know Thornbury is a Democrat. Don't know about Baisden, but with all the voter fraud there is no reason to think he's a Republican. People, you must stop voting for these corrupt Dems. They are killing our country.

  • Barry

    Thornsbury was appointed to his position under the Caperton administration. Caperton's right hand man who was in charge of the appointment was John Perdue (now state treasurer). Thornsbury and Perdue have been tied at the hip and the judge has long helped run Perdue slates in southern WV always crediting the Treasure for being the man he listens too and owes his career too. Funny how things all tie together in WV.

    • Michael Baisden

      thanks for bringing that to my attention. Didnt realize Purdue had anythin to do with Mingo County

  • Peter

    Bad English
    You wrote:
    "U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Thornsbury had an extra-marital affair for a few months in 2008 but when his secretary broke off the relationship the judge sprung into action."
    But the correct past of "spring" is "sprang", not "sprung"

    • RLS

      Thank you Peter

      I'm glad your extensive knowledge of grammar cleared that up for us.

      • hailey

        Thanks Peter, now I truly understand the article, get over yourself

  • Hugh G Rection

    Them boys both sound like they could be retarded. Whee Doggy.

    • Bob C

      It's WV...isn't that the norm? Cue the Deliverance tune...

  • Larry

    They probably just stopped doing business with Appalachian Tire because they always want to change your air filter, or perform some other service you don't need.

  • dave r

    mingo has gone to hell quickly