Thornsbury allegedly had a "messenger" tell the county prosecutor to make sure Woodruff received six months in jail for the misdemeanor charge -- "an extraordinarily harsh punishment even if [Woodruff] had been guilty," according to prosecutors.
Woodruff refused to take a deal offered by prosecutors that would have jailed him for six months for the charge. On the eve of his trial date, a prosecutor ended up dismissing the case because he believed the prosecution was not in the interest of justice, prosecutors say.
Charleston lawyer Mike Callaghan, who represents the Woodruffs, said they plan to sue, according to the AP.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Ruby is in charge of the prosecution.
Neither Moore nor Fletcher will be charged, Goodwin said Thursday.
Moore has been placed on paid administrative leave by the State Police until an internal investigation is complete.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said personnel laws prohibited him from naming the trooper placed on leave, even though the federal indictment names Moore.
Baylous said State Police assisted in the corruption probe, and knew about the allegations of misconduct by the trooper. He said they held off taking action against the trooper until the indictment was unsealed to keep from jeopardizing the federal investigation.
"The agency's integrity is of the utmost importance not only to me, but the the people we serve," State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers said in a statement. "I have faith that this established process will serve the best interest of the public, the West Virginia State Police, and more importantly, justice itself."
State Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury filed an "extraordinary complaint" against Thornsbury. Under Rule 2.14 of the Rules of Judical Disciplinary Procedure, the extraordinary remedy can be taken if a judge is convicted of or indicted for an alleged crime.
The complaint went to the state Judicial Investigation Commission, which recommended that Thornsbury be suspended without pay. The Supreme Court agreed with the recommendation, and suspended Thornsbury immediately until the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
Thornsbury is a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Pikeville in Kentucky, but his name and photo were removed from the school's website Thursday afternoon.
He graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law and then worked as an assistant prosecutor in Mingo County from 1981 to 1983. He then ran his own civil and criminal law practice in Williamson.
Thornsbury ran for the House of Delegates in 1988, as part of what he said was a movement to clean up Mingo County politics.
"It's up to the people this time," Thornsbury told The Associated Press at the time. "They can choose the old way, or they can take the best opportunity they've had to vote good, honest candidates into office."
Thornsbury lost that bid for House, and a second try for the post two years later. Then in January 1997, Thornsbury was appointed to the Mingo Circuit Court bench by then-Gov. Gaston Caperton to replace Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard, who had won a state Supreme Court seat the previous November.
A decade later, in 2008, Maynard lost his bid for re-election to the Supreme Court after photographs surfaced of him vacationing on the French Riviera with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. At the time, an appeal of a $50 million verdict against Massey was heading for the high court.
The following year, in August 2009, Thornsbury was ordered by the state Supreme Court to step down from hearing a major coal-slurry pollution case against Massey.
Thornsbury had refused to voluntarily step aside in the case after lawyers for residents who were suing Massey alleged the judge frequently socialized with Blankenship. Thornsbury denied the allegations, saying that he had "no political or business ties with Mr. Blankenship" and that "social contact is limited to exchanging ordinary greetings." The judge also denied allegations that he was using the case to help a business partner -- a local doctor with ties to Massey -- profit from a medical monitoring program being set up as part of the suit.
The local doctor, Dr. C. Donovan Beckett, is a partner with Thornsbury in a company called Williamson Renaissance Development Inc. That company is mentioned in Thornsbury's indictment because Fletcher was the third partner in the firm.
Among those who offered a sworn affidavit in support of Thornsbury's version of events was then-Magistrate Eugene Crum, who was elected as Mingo County sheriff last year on an anti-drug platform, then was shot to death this April in downtown Williamson.
Crum is mentioned in Thursday's indictment of Thornsbury. It says that on Dec. 1, 2008, Magistrate Crum issued an arrest warrant for Robert Woodruff "based on the false criminal complaint" concerning the mining drill bits. Crum later dismissed the complaint Jan. 9, 2009, the indictment says.
Lawyers for residents in the slurry case had alleged Thornsbury and Blankenship had lunch in April 2009 -- around the time of a key development in the slurry litigation -- at Starters, a restaurant near the courthouse. Crum said in his affidavit that he had lunch with Thornsbury that day and that Blankenship was sitting two tables away.
Kevin Thompson, a lawyer for the residents, later outlined how Thornsbury had in 1985, while in private practice, defended Massey's Rawl Sales subsidiary in a blasting damage case filed against the company by a dozen residents, including Raymond Fitch, who was also a plaintiff in the slurry lawsuit.
The second letter was enough to prompt then-Acting Chief Justice Robin Davis to sign an order removing Thornsbury from the case. Davis noted that an expert witness for the residents had reported that blasting activities by Massey could have been one cause of fractured underground strata that allowed slurry injected by the company to contaminate local drinking water.
Davis said the "temporal and geographical relationship between the prior matter and the allegations and defenses in the current litigation" warranted Thornsbury's disqualification.
Goodwin said Thursday that the investigation into political corruption in Mingo County is "ongoing."
"Should anyone have any evidence of further criminal acts they shouldn't hesitate [to contact my office]," he said.
Staff writers Ken Ward Jr. and Rusty Marks contributed to this report. Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.