CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A former Mingo County prosecuting attorney will be sentenced Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Charleston for violating a man’s Constitutional rights.
Michael Sparks, 44, faces up to a year behind bars after earlier pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of depriving a man of his right to counsel.
Sparks was accused of playing a role in a scheme to protect late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum by offering Crum’s alleged drug dealer, George White, a lighter sentence to change attorneys and stop talking to the FBI about Crum.
White has since filed a lawsuit against Sparks and the others involved in that scheme.
Federal prosecutors are asking that Sparks be sentenced to the maximum allowable time for, what they called, “deplorable” conduct.
Since an information was filed against him last year, Sparks has resigned from office and lost his law license, but has cooperated with investigators.
Sparks’ sentencing hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in front of U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston.
Sparks will be the latest former elected official in Mingo County to be sentenced on federal charges.
In June, Judge Johnston went beyond the sentencing guidelines and sentenced Michael Thornsbury, a former Mingo County circuit judge, to 50 months in prison for his role in the scheme to protect Crum. He had faced a felony charge. At the time, he called Thornsbury’s conduct “appalling and unacceptable.”
In March, Judge Johnston sentenced Dallas Toler, a former chief magistrate in Mingo County, to 27 months in prison for voter fraud. In January, David Baisden, a former Mingo County commissioner, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for attempted extortion.