West Virginia

Judge Indicted in West Virginia

Accused of trying to use the court to frame a romantic rival

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Even in southern West Virginia, where corruption is as much as a part of life as coal, people are shocked by allegations that a judge commandeered the legal system in a years-long attempt to frame a romantic rival for crimes he didn't commit.

Federal prosecutors indicted Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury on two counts of conspiracy Thursday, just hours after indicting County Commissioner Dave Baisden on extortion charges. Thornsbury attorney Steve Jory declined comment while Baisden's attorney did not return messages.

The state Supreme Court has suspended Thornsbury and his law license, and a replacement judge was set to take over his caseload Friday.