Sherrill and then-Mingo sheriff Lonnie Hannah both said Sherrill told Hannah about the investigation and Hannah told Sherrill to stop investigating Stevens, according to the lawsuit.
Crum and Rockel then allegedly used an unlawful search warrant to search for wiretapping equipment used by Tidwell, according to Stevens' lawsuit.
The evidence found should have exonerated Stevens, the lawsuit claims. Instead, Rockel -- using information he knew was false, according to the lawsuit -- charged Stevens with wiretapping and conspiracy and attempt to possess an illegal wiretap.
Fifteen days after Stevens was arrested, he and Sparks signed a pretrial sentencing agreement -- even though Sparks knew Stevens was not guilty of any crime, the lawsuit states.
That agreement, on file in the Mingo County circuit clerk's office, says wiretapping charges would be dropped if Stevens "ceased to operate a private investigation business principally in Mingo County."
Stevens agreed because, he says, he knew he wouldn't get a fair trial.
Stevens is also suing two men, yet to be named, whom he says Crum ordered to beat him up. In March, according to the suit, Crum and Stevens met by chance in Williamson, and the newly elected sheriff told Stevens that "he was not afraid of him." Days later, Stevens says, he was assaulted by two men in his home and warned to get out of Mingo County.
Stevens, 56, of Lenore, finished a distant third in last year's Democratic primary behind Crum and James Smith. Crum was shot to death in April in downtown Williamson. Smith was appointed as Mingo sheriff last month, after Crum's widow, Rosie, stepped down as interim sheriff.
Rockel has not been charged by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office in the ongoing investigation into Mingo County political corruption.
Rockel joined the Mingo sheriff's department in June after Crum's death, but was fired by Smith last month. Federal prosecutors have described Rockel as a friend and political ally of Crum, and Rosie Crum recommended Rockel as a permanent replacement for her husband.
Thornsbury and other public officials and agencies also face lawsuits from Kim Woodruff, the judge's former secretary, and her husband Robert. Federal prosecutors alleged Thornsbury tried to get Robert Woodruff thrown in jail so Kim Woodruff would have to enter into a relationship with the judge for financial reasons.
Stevens' lawsuit has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.