EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSProsecutors Casting Wide Net In Southern West Virginia
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Matt Durrett, Larry Clark
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Oct. 9, 2013 6:25 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 9, 2013 10:03 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The tally of Mingo County elected officials accused of federal crimes now stands at four, with no guarantee that more won't be added to the list.
Former circuit judge Michael Thornsbury and former county commissioner David Baisden have already admitted their guilt. It's expected prosecutor Michael Sparks and former chief magistrate Dallas Toler will do the same.
Here is an important thing to know about the Mingo County investigation" It's not just focusing on one area. All of the accused crimes of the various officials are not necessarily connected.
While Thornsbury and Sparks were allegedly part of the same conspiracy, Baisden pleaded guilty for trying to shake down a tire store for some cheap wheels. And Toler is in trouble for allegedly turning in a false voter registration application for a felon who was out of jail.
"It shows the breadth of our investigation in Mingo County," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. "We're not going to limit it to a particular scheme or a particular circumstance. We don't go into any investigation with a pre-determined outcome. We follow the evidence wherever it leads us and this is where it's led us so far."
Goodwin said Mingo County residents should not be discouraged with the wave of corruption charges. Instead, he said they should re-dedicate themselves to taking a more active role in local elections.
It should be mentioned that these latest informations come down as the U.S. Attorney's office is operating with about a third of its staff on furlough because of the partial government shutdown.
Goodwin said the Toler and Sparks announcements developed more quickly than expected because of a number of factors that came together Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
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