CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A drug dealer who was allegedly deprived of his rights by Mingo County officials wants out of prison until a judge decides whether to reconsider his case.
George White's attorney, Ronald Rumora, filed a motion in Mingo Circuit Court earlier this month asking a judge to release White from Huttonsville Correctional Center until the court hears a habeas corpus petition White plans to file.
In May, former Mingo circuit judge Michael Thornsbury sentenced White, 65, of Delbarton, to one to 15 years in prison on drug charges.
Federal prosecutors say that, rather than pay White for campaign signs, former Mingo sheriff Eugene Crum sent an undercover officer to buy drugs from White, and then had White arrested. White then began talking to federal agents about giving prescription pills to Crum, according to prosecutors.
When Crum found out, he allegedly approached other officials -- including former prosecutor Michael Sparks and former county commissioner David Baisden -- who devised a scheme to keep White quiet. Federal prosecutors say Sparks and others told White's brother that, if White switched lawyers to one favored by them and stopped talking to federal investigators, he would get a lighter sentence.
White then switched lawyers from Charles "Butch" West to Rumora. In June, White asked Thornsbury to reconsider his sentence and a hearing was set for Sept. 26. But before that could happen, Thornsbury was charged with conspiring to deprive White of his constitutional rights. The judge pleaded guilty to the federal charge earlier this month.
Sparks, who resigned as Mingo County's prosecuting attorney after being charged with depriving White of his constitutional rights, is expected to plead guilty on Nov. 18.
Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph, who was appointed as a special prosecutor in White's case, said he hasn't had a chance to review it.
"I've certainly got to look at the file before I make any judgment about what our position will be on the motion," Randolph said this week.
Sparks asked for a special prosecutor in White's case before he resigned, but after the alleged scheme to thwart the investigation into Crum was made public.