EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFederal Informations Charge Mingo County's Sparks, Toler
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Kennie Bass, Associated Press
Reported: Oct. 9, 2013 3:49 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 10, 2013 9:22 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
New federal informations released Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office charge former Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler and Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks.
Sparks is accused of participating in a scheme to block accused drug dealer George White of the counsel of his choice. Toler is accused of submitting fake voter registration applications. He resigned from his office as chief magistrate of Mingo County on Wednesday.
The latest development concerning Sparks comes as he has been battling to keep his law license. The West Virginia Supreme Court is giving Sparks a chance to argue why his law license should not be suspended. The hearing is Oct. 16 in Charleston.
In its third demand for the suspension, filed Sept. 26, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel said Sparks lied to the court when he said last week that he did not know about alleged corruption by a now-suspended circuit judge.
It said Sparks admitted to the FBI that he knew about crimes and misconduct that federal prosecutors said Judge Michael Thornsbury committed.
In one case, federal prosecutors said Thornsbury tried to frame a romantic rival for false crimes. The judge is expected to plead guilty next week in a second case aimed at protecting a former sheriff's reputation by putting a drug supplier in prison.
Williamson lawyer Butch West has become one of the key players in the allegations against Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks. In his answer to the disciplinary counsel, Sparks claims West never provided his office with a document that alleged former Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum used his office to arrest a man he had allegedly purchased drugs from in the past.
But West, who represented George White, the drug suspect, is sticking to his claim that he gave the paperwork to Sparks not long before White was fired in a plot allegedly orchestrated by Judge Michael Thornsbury , Sparks and others to keep the sheriff's reputation untarnished.
In a Supreme Court filing, Sparks said he never got the report and never took part in the meeting where plans were allegedly made to keep White from talking to the FBI. He claims West wants Judge Thornsbury's job after his expected guilty plea. West denies that he is campaigning for the position.
Meanwhile, the latest development on Toler follows his resignation as magistrate. Toler resigned Wednesday and the resignation is effective immediately, April Harless, a spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court, said.
The Williamson Daily News reported that it was in his best interest and that of his family and county residents to step down from his post. Toler was appointed to serve the remainder of the term of former Magistrate Eugene Crum, who resigned from the position when he ran for sheriff. The newspaper reported that Toler then became a candidate for that seat in 2012 and was sworn in on the first of this year, placing second in the vote count for the office of magistrate.
The AP contributed to this story
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