CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has told the state lawyer Office of Disciplinary Counsel that Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has admitted to being part of conspiracies involving suspended Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury. 

(Read new court filing from ODC here)

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Federal court papers allege Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks was part of courthouse conspiracy.

The ODC has filed additional information with the state Supreme Court seeking the immediate suspension of Sparks’ law license. The disciplinary counsel received a sealed order from federal prosecutors that said Sparks admitted to the FBI of his “knowledge and involvement” in the alleged crimes against Thornsbury.

On Thursday, the state Supreme Court set a hearing date for arguments before a decision will be made on the future of Sparks’ law license.  That hearing will be held on Oct. 16.

In his filings with the state Supreme Court, Sparks denied being involved but the Office of Disciplinary Counsel said a sworn affidavit from FBI Special Agent Joe Ciccarelli shows Sparks hasn’t told the state Supreme Court the truth.

The ODC also said the U.S. Attorney’s Office plans to take the information against Sparks to a federal grand jury for consideration.

Sparks has not been charged and he’s pointed out that he voluntarily spoke with federal investigators. Sparks has previously said and the ODC confirmed, Sparks did so without immunity from federal prosecutors.

Judge Thornsbury is scheduled to plead guilty Oct. 2 on charges that he violated a man’s constitutional rights. It’s alleged Thornsbury worked with several other elected officials in Mingo County, including Prosecutor Sparks, to protect late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum from a federal investigation.

Originally, Thornsbury had been accused of illegally using his judicial power to target the husband of his ex-mistress over a period of years. The ODC said Sparks has admitted he knew about Thornsbury’s actions, which included setting up a grand jury to indict the husband, but Sparks failed to report the judge.

(Read Prosecutor Sparks’ latest response here)

Sparks’ attorney Lonnie Simmons filed a response Thursday to the new information. In it, Sparks maintains he’s violated no rules of professional conduct and has not committed a crime. Sparks called the allegations by the ODC, ethics complaints, and he asked the Supreme Court to allow them to go forward in an appropriate forum where witnesses could be called and cross-examined.

Sparks said suspending his law license would be “professionally, personally and economically devastating.”

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  • Sparks Interest

    I think the people have a right to know if their prosecutor is a crook and I personally believe a liar could be considered a crook. I would like to ask C. Michael Sparks this question: Mr. Sparks you told two different versions of an event and which version is truthful?

  • Curly Joe

    Innocent until proven guilty, but doesn't sound good for Sparks. How sad that a young man with a lot on the ball at one time has fallen into that web of deceit; one that will ruin his life. Why do these people think they are above the law and can manipulate it to suit their selfesh needs???

    • jd,harris

      because they have got buy for so long.

  • WV Pariot

    Has the public read the indictment of Thornsbury and the FBI affidavit ? Why aren't the judge, prosecutor, state trooper, county commissioner, local police and other henchmen charged with the RICO act?? In its rawest form it was a criminal enterprise going on being run by the judge and everyone else involved . Just the hunger for greed and power at its finest.

    • ConservativeRealist

      I agree...I wonder how many defendants who entered pleas, were tried, and/or were prosecuted under this regime will be filing appeals asking for new trials, reconsiderations, etc. This could make the Fred Zain matter seem trivial...



    • Sparks Election

      Did Michael Sparks win the election fair and square? What part (if any) did the TEAM MINGO SLATE play in C. Michael Sparks election to the Mingo County Prosecutor Office? Does C. Michael Sparks plan to run for public office in Mingo County during the next election cycle? Will Michael Sparks still be with the TEAM MINGO political group considering all the allegations made by the disgrace ex-judge Michael Thornsbury? I don't expect to see a lot of signs reading "I Like Mike" but I do expect to read a lot of "I like Jail for Mike"

    • Harpers Ferry

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that's been going on in this state since June 20, 1863. Just ask John F. Kennedy. Ok, well apparently he's not available right now, but if he was he would say, "My Daddy bought those votes fair and square!"

  • John

    What about the "FLOOD MONEY"? What about overtime money from Mingo County Bd. of Ed.? What about lack of supervision of contracted people working for MCBOE, retirees and hours worked? What about two separate contracts from the county to renovate the County Offices on Alderson Street? Just asking??????????

  • bulldog95

    Say no to a plea deal. What a joke. Such a strong message being sent with this plea.


    Now we will see if this lying criminal will be treated and prosecuted as aggressively as the rest of this states citizens.