Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy for his alleged scheme to arrest and imprison the a man identified as "R.W.," who was married to his secretary, identified as "K.W.," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release.
Thornsbury, 57, allegedly engaged in an affair with K.W. starting in early 2008, the release said. He allegedly began plotting to frame R.W. in June 2008 after the secretary broke off the affair.
The indictment against Thornsbury alleged that the judge tried to plant illegal drugs underneath R.W.'s pickup truck. However, an associate of Thornsbury's would not go through with the plan.
Then, Thornsbury allegedly asked state troopers to arrest R.W. on bogus charges of theft of scrap metal, and in 2009 placed an associate as the foreman of a grand jury to issue subpoenas seeking documents that could be used to indict R.W. That scheme fell through when one of the subpoenas revealed ties between the judge and the foreman, the indictment alleged.
"He [Thornsbury] corrupted the system of justice in Mingo County for his own nefarious purposes," Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, said at a news conference.
Thornsbury has not commented on the case and is expected to enter a plea at a hearing next week.
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