The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel has asked the Supreme Court to suspend Sparks' law license for his involvement in Thornsbury's alleged conspiracies. Sparks says he never engaged in any misconduct and never had enough information to report alleged misconduct by other public officials. Sparks said in an email on Monday that the Stevens case is still subject to federal investigation.
"Since I am a potential witness, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time," Sparks said.
Thompson, Stevens' lawyer, said Stevens also plans to sue Sparks, the city of Williamson because of Rockel's involvement, and the Mingo County Commission because they funded Crum's work as a special investigator.
After the initial indictment of Thornsbury last month, the lawyer for the judge's ex-secretary and her husband said he would sue the Supreme Court and other public agencies. More recently, he said he would wait until after a mediation.
In August 2009, Thompson represented citizens suing Massey Energy in a major coal-slurry pollution case. Thornsbury was ordered by the state Supreme Court to step down from that case.
Thornsbury had refused to voluntarily step aside in the case after lawyers for residents who were suing Massey alleged the judge frequently socialized with former Massey CEO Don Blankenship. Thompson outlined how Thornsbury had in 1985, while in private practice, defended Massey's Rawl Sales subsidiary in a blasting damage case.
"So I have personal knowledge that Judge Thornsbury was a corrupt and dangerous man," Thompson said Monday.
When Stevens was charged, Thompson said, "I tried to help him find a criminal attorney. I told him, 'listen, if I'm in front of Thornsbury on your behalf you're doing the max, because the judge hates me.' So I tried to help him find a criminal attorney."
Williamson lawyer Jane Moran represented Stevens during his criminal case last year. She would not comment Monday, but Thompson said she was the only lawyer in the area who would take the case.
"Jane Moran is one tough lawyer and she's the only person we could get to take it -- she knew Stevens had no chance," Thompson said. "If he hadn't signed the agreement, he'd be sitting in jail right now."
He said Stevens has been talking with federal prosecutors, who said Monday they couldn't comment.
"I have no idea what their plans are," Thompson said of the prosecutors. "I hope they would fully prosecute the judge for everything, but I understand that might not be efficient. If they've got him for something and he rolls on someone else, they don't need to file 50 different charges." Goodwin has said the investigation in Mingo County continues.
Although the charges against him were dropped, Stevens said Monday, his career has been destroyed.
"A lot of days I'll go to my office [now in Logan County] and just sit there. When you ruin a private investigator's career, it's the same with law enforcement, nobody will trust you," he said in a telephone interview.
Stevens said he sold all of his furniture and his car to afford an attorney. The lawsuit will ask for $1 million in damages.
He moved to the area about 10 years ago from Ohio. His wife is from Mingo County.
"I had no supporters and paid for my own campaign [for sheriff]. ... I told people I believed you couldn't get a fair trial here," Stevens said.
He plans to be vindicated.
"I usually pick and choose my battles, but they forced this one on me. And I wasn't about to -- I still ain't about to let it go," he said.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.