EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWV State Trooper Under Internal Investigation Previously Named Top Trooper
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Aug. 15, 2013 3:23 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 15, 2013 11:38 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A West Virginia State Police trooper who federal prosecutors claim was involved in helping a judge plot against a romantic rival previously was named the state's top trooper.
Trooper Brandon Moore was placed on administrative leave Thursday following the indictment of Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury on federal conspiracy charges.
Federal prosecutors said Moore agreed to file a false grand larceny charge against a man at Thornsbury's request.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Moore will not face charges. But state police said they are investigating
Moore's actions and that he is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The West Virginia Troopers Association named Moore as the state's 2009 Trooper of the Year. He was chosen from more than 700 troopers statewide.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
West Virginia State Police said they have launched an internal investigation into a trooper's conduct related to the investigation of Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday alleges that a member of the West Virginia State Police engaged in official misconduct at the behest of Thornsbury, according to a news release from State Police. State Police said they have been aware of the allegations involving the trooper in question and is participating in the investigation of public corruption in Mingo County, but in order to avoid jeopardizing the federal investigation, no administrative action has been taken with regard to the trooper until now.
In light of the indictment,State Police have initiated a parallel internal investigation into the trooper’s conduct, the release said.
Thornsbury's indictment indicates the judge plotted with a co-conspirator to plant drugs under the vehicle of a romantic rival and tried to make arrangements to have police stop it. The indictment alleges that a trooper, identified as Trooper Moore, had reason to know that the judge had been involved in a romantic relationship with the man's wife and that he later caused the the man to be arrested on a false complaint for an alleged larceny.
The release said in accordance with the standard procedures that govern the West Virginia State Police by code and by legislative rule in handling employee misconduct, the trooper has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. State Police said they could not release the name of the trooper due to procedures.
Meanwhile, State Police Col. C.R. Jay Smithers released a statement about the internal investigation of the trooper.
“The West Virginia State Police has a proud tradition of serving the citizens of West Virginia with honor and distinction," Smithers said. "The agency’s integrity is of the upmost importance not only to me, but to the people we serve. We continually strive to maintain the confidence and respect of the public and have strict policies and procedures in place to investigate and deal with allegations of misconduct.
"Our administrative process is completely independent of the criminal process, not only in terms of the investigation itself, but also in terms of any potential outcomes. I have faith that this established process will serve the best interest of the public, the West Virginia State Police, and more importantly, justice itself.”
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