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UPDATED: Mingo prosecutor responds to accusations in federal filing

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After the Office of Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition seeking to immediately suspend Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks' license, Sparks responded to allegations in a court filing.

The West Virginia Supreme Court granted Sparks' Sept. 20 motion for leave to file a formal response to the petition.

Sparks was mentioned in federal filings Sept. 19 as being connected to a scheme Mingo County Judge Michael Thornsbury is accused of.

Thornsbury was targeted in an Aug. 15 filing, which said he tried to frame his ex-lover's husband in several schemes, including planting drugs on the man's truck and hijacking a grand jury to frame him.

Sparks' new petition cited Thornsbury's court filings, which alleged Sparks had previous knowledge of Thornsbury's conduct of trying to violate the rights of the husband. The petition also cited the allegations in the new Thornsbury filing.

The petition said that since Sparks did not report Thornsbury and others listed in the information to the proper authorities, he violated the rules of professional conduct. 

In his motion, Sparks asked to dismiss the complaint, saying he didn't have enough knowledge to report Thornsbury's actions to the Judicial Ethics Commission.

Sparks said although he heard rumors of Thornsbury's relationship with his secretary, he didn't know about the judge's schemes of planting drugs and hijacking the grand jury.

A new federal information, filed Sept. 19, asserts former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury helped Crum, Sparks and Mingo County Commissioner Dave Baisden to try to deprive a Mingo County man of his constitutional rights.

Sparks made the following public post on his Facebook page late Sept. 19:

"I was shocked by the unfounded accusations against me in United States of America v. Michael Thornsbury [Information 2:13-CR-00239]. I specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs 9-18. 

"Thornsbury is a sinister, vindictive womanizer that abused the powers of his judgeship in multiple attempts to falsely incriminate a romantic rival. There is evidence that Thornsbury has engaged in other criminal and unethical activity. I expected to be a target of false incrimination and vengeance since I substantially assisted the federal investigation of Thornsbury. 

"White is a convicted drug dealer currently incarcerated at Southwestern Regional Jail on a sentence of up to 15 years for two (2) felony drug convictions. White also forfeited $10,000.00 in cash. The disposition of White's charges was consistent with dispositions of prior similar cases during my tenure.

"Although I have not been charged with any crime, I look forward to aggressively defending my integrity and refuting these unfounded accusations.

"C. Michael Sparks, Esq.

"Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney."