"However, Mr. Sparks had no actual knowledge that Judge Thornsbury played any role in this arrest," Simmons says in the response.
"While Mr. Sparks did suspect these criminal charges may have been filed at the request of Judge Thornsbury to somehow further his relationship with [Kim Woodruff], Mr. Sparks had no substantial proof either of any romantic relationship between Judge Thornsbury and [Kim Woodruff] and further had no evidence of Judge Thornsbury's involvement in obtaining these criminal charges against [Robert Woodruff]."
Simmons also noted that if an attorney files a complaint against a judge -- especially against the lone judge in the county -- "the lawyer had better have solid evidence to support such a serious charge."
Per Judicial Investigation Commission rules, a judge is allowed to see the complaint and respond to it, the response points out.
"Any prosecutor filing such a complaint in a single judge county, without first having unimpeachable evidence establishing the judge had engaged in misconduct which raises a substantial question as to his fitness for office, would be committing professional and political suicide," Simmons wrote.
Friday afternoon, Sparks quoted lyrics to the song "Bring It On," by Steven Curtis Chapman, on his public Facebook page.
"Bring it on. Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow. Bring it on. Let the trouble come, let it make me fall on the One who's strong. Bring it on," the post read.
In a statement he emailed to the Gazette-Mail early Friday, Sparks said he had been "Thornsburied" and alleged Thornsbury had made up the allegations against him contained in Thursday's charge.
"Thornsbury has been proven to be a sinister and corrupt womanizer that abused the power of his judgeship in multiple attempts to falsely incriminate a romantic rival. I fully expected to be a target of Thornsbury's vindictiveness since I substantially cooperated in the federal investigation of Thornsbury," Sparks said in the statement.
He also said Thornsbury has wrongly accused Crum, who was shot to death in his police cruiser in April.
"Sheriff Crum can no longer defend himself. Rosie Crum and the entire Crum family are still grieving and have done nothing to deserve Thornsbury's treachery," Sparks said.
Crum's widow, Rosie, also has denied her husband's role in the alleged scheme.
In the petition for suspension, chief ODC attorney Rachael Cipoletti, stated that Sparks poses "a substantial threat of irreparable harm; he is unable and/or unwilling to represent the interests of the citizens of Mingo County."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.