CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Guilty! That was the plea Tuesday morning in Charleston federal court of Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden. He admitted his guilt to one count of extortion that took place in June 2012 while he was the county’s purchasing agent.

As he left the Byrd Federal Courthouse, he said this. “I’m working on a statement. I’ll give a press release at a later time. Thank you.”

As he was getting in his truck to leave, he also commented, “I love the people of Mingo County and I hope they continue to pray for me.”

It was a year and a half ago that Baisden wanted Appalachian Tire, the company that provided tires for county vehicles, to give him the same rate on tires for his personal vehicle. When they refused he left a message on the company’s answering machine stating he’d take the county’s business elsewhere unless he got the deal. Appalachian Tire stood its ground and Baisden admitted to canceling their county contract and going with a different tire distributor.

“This shows you that elected officials have to play by the same set of rules as everybody else,” according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Booth Goodwin. “What Commissioner Baisden did was he abused his power to shake down an honest business for special favors.”

Goodwin said his office aggressively pursued the case because it reflects on all of West Virginia.

“This is the kind of thing that really destroys people’s faith in their government. The people of Mingo County, the people of West Virginia deserve better,” stressed Goodwin.

As part of his plea deal, Baisden will not face additional charges connected to an ongoing corruption investigation in Mingo County.

“He has agreed to plead guilty to these charges and he is cooperating with our ongoing investigation. So he won’t be further charged,” explained Goodwin.

Two other conditions of his plea; he must resign from the Mingo County Commission before he is sentenced and he can never again hold an elected political office.

Baisden faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced January 14. But Goodwin said it’s more likely he’ll receive just a few years.

“It depends on how cooperative he is, whether he is able to give us substantial assistance in our investigation,” said Goodwin. “So there are a number of factors that will play into his sentence.”

Baisden said he does not plan to step down from the county commission until the day of his sentencing. He remains free on $10,000 bond.

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Comments

  • Spell Checker

    Behold the face of the cancer that is political corruption.

    One county down, fifty-four to go.

  • Rich

    The citizens of the county can file a petition in circuit court to have him removed from office.

  • wvtd

    they have been getting away with this crap for years and will continue to as long as radical terrorist democrats control this state.

  • Spell Checker

    Maybe we should create a new license plate, adorned with $$$$$$$ signs no less: Friends of Graft and Corruption.

  • Medman

    As long as these hacks can pull this crap and only look at 2 or 3 years in prison, we will continue to have the same stories being repeated in our state. This crook should be looking at 20 years on the top bunk with Bubba.

  • College Ave

    Baisden is a sociopath. Someone who intends to hold onto his elected office until he's sentenced to prison for abusing that office has no conscience and is incapable of remorse.

    It would be interesting if he, Thornsbury, Sparks and whoever else ends up in this mess were required to tour the state for a series of town hall meetings to answer questions about how and why they chose to become extortionists and conspirators.

    Losers...

  • Alum

    That's one expensive set of tires. Try honesty the next time.

  • Ut Oh

    Remove him, why he as of yet has not said that ol Earl had anything to do with it, or has he?

  • David J.

    Well maybe the Governor can remove him? I don't know but he certainly should not be allowed to remain.

  • cutty77

    He will spend less than 2 years Jail. All the crooks are connected,including the so called Good Guys. Its the Fox guarding The Hen House. lol

  • Hillbilly

    Its also likely that he is pleading guilty to this lesser charge to stop them from uncovering or announcing or prosecuting his involvement in much worse things..

  • Jim G.

    I hate it when lazy reporters say he is "facing 20 years in prison", there are federal sentencing guidelines in all federal cases that will determine his sentencing range. It is most likely in the 24 to 36 month range. When reporters say that he is facing 20 years and he only gets 36 months then the readers think he got off with something. Why don't you do the research and add to the sentence, but according to federal sentencing guidelines he faces...........

  • Jethro

    So the citizens of Mingo County are paying a convicted felon as one of their commissioners? If my score card is correct, so far several county officials have gotten off completely for their willingness to rat out their buddies/business partners - and the others are pleading down their sentences and still getting paid. Where is justice?