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Thornsbury sentencing delayed again

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The sentencing of a former Mingo County Circuit judge on a federal charge has been delayed until June.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston this week moved the sentencing of Michael Thornsbury from April 21 to June 9. The delay was “for reasons appearing to the Court,” according to Johnston’s order.

In October, Thornsbury pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to deny a man of his constitutional rights. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison.

This is the second time Thornsbury’s sentencing has been pushed back. In December, prosecutors asked Johnston to delay Thornsbury’s sentencing so they could further investigate information Thornsbury provided in a corruption probe. The information could make the ex-judge eligible for a lighter sentence, prosecutors previously wrote in court documents.

Thornsbury, who had served as the county’s only circuit judge since 1997, resigned as part of his plea deal with prosecutors. He admitted he went along with a plot to protect the county’s former sheriff, Eugene Crum, from a man who was telling FBI agents he had sold drugs to Crum.

If Johnston approves Thornsbury’s plea agreement, prosecutors will dismiss another federal charge against Thornsbury in an unrelated matter. Prosecutors allege that Thornsbury violated the constitutional rights of his former secretary’s husband by trying to land him in jail on trumped-up charges so the judge could be in a relationship with his secretary.

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