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Thornsbury pre-trial hearing canceled

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A pre-trial hearing for Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury was canceled earlier this week.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston canceled the Sept. 26 hearing Tuesday.

Thornsbury pleaded not guilty to federal charges that claim he conspired to violate the constitutional rights of his former secretary's husband, Robert Woodruff.

His attorney, Steve Jory, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Thornsbury remains free on $10,000 bond.

In his order, Johnston wrote the hearing was canceled because there were no pending motions in the case. A trial is tentatively set for Oct. 15.

Federal prosecutors say Thornsbury, Mingo County's only circuit judge, put his business partner in charge of a county grand jury as foreman, plotted to plant drugs on Robert Woodruff and tried to get the man sent to jail after Kim Woodruff, the judge's secretary at the time, broke off an affair with him.

On Sept. 12, Dreama Thornsbury filed for divorce from Michael Thornsbury, according to an employee in the Mingo circuit clerk's office.

Mike Callaghan, the Woodruffs' attorney, said last month he plans to file a lawsuit in federal court over the alleged malfeasance by Thornsbury and others.

On Wednesday, Callaghan said he would hold off on filing the lawsuits, at the request of the state's insurance company, until mediation could be held.

The federal indictment against Thornsbury mentions West Virginia State Police Trooper Brandon Moore and Gilbert Police Officer Nathan Glanden as having been persuaded by Thornsbury to help plot against Woodruff. Callaghan has already issued a required 30-day notice that the Woodruffs' plan to file a lawsuit against the Supreme Court -- because Thornsbury is a judge -- the State Police and the city of Gilbert.

The West Virginia Supreme Court suspended Thornsbury without pay, and also suspended his law license after the indictment.

The indictment states that with Jarrod Fletcher, Thornsbury's business partner, in charge of the Mingo County grand jury, Thornsbury was allegedly able to sway the jury's authority and use it to victimize Robert Woodruff.

Fletcher also was Mingo County's director of homeland security. Mingo commissioners suspended him from that job without pay after Thornsbury was indicted.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.

 


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