Thornsbury, Baisden plead "not guilty" to federal charges - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Thornsbury, Baisden plead "not guilty" to federal charges

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Michael Thornsbury told a federal judge he was "absolutely not guilty" Wednesday.

Thornsbury was Mingo County's only circuit court judge in Mingo County, until last Thursday, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury. Hours later, the state Supreme Court voted to suspend Thornsbury and his law license.

(Read more about the federal charges filed against Thornsbury.)

Thornsbury is accused of trying to scorn his ex-lover's husband in several different schemes, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

An indictment states that Thornsbury engaged in an affair with his secretary in 2008. When she ended the fling, the judge sought to frame her husband for different crimes.

When asked why he said he was "absolutely" not guilty, Thornsbury said:"It's as clear as a man can be."

Thornsbury began serving as a circuit court judge in 1997. The allegations prompted many to question the credibility of his rulings.

Retired Cabell County Circuit Judge John Cummings will step in for Thornsbury during his suspension. Former Supreme Court justice Thomas McHugh will also assist in hearing cases.

Commissioner Dave Baisden also pleaded "not guilty" in federal court Wednesday. He is accused of attempted extortion.

(Read more about the federal charges filed against Baisden.)

"We're gonna do business as we've always done in Mingo County," Baisden told 13NEWS."We run a good ship and we're going to continue to run one."

On Wednesday, Baisden resigned as purchasing agent for the county--the position at the center of the controversy.

"Yes, I thought was the best," Baisden said. "That was my suggestion."

In June 2009, Baisden allegedly tried abusing his power as purchasing agent for the Mingo County Commission. He tried to buy tires for his personal vehicle at a government discount, according to a federal indictment.

Baisden said he is not resigning as Mingo County Commissioner.

"I was elected by the people of Mingo County, and I will continue being their commissioner unless something happens in court," he said. "I don't think I've done anything to lose their trust."

Thornsbury would not comment when he was asked if the people of Mingo County have lost trust in their elected officials.

When Thornsbury walked into the courtroom Wednesday, he acknowledged Baisden; the two exchanged pleasantries.

"Yes, we've been friends," Baisden said. "I worked with him through the judge work program for the last seven years."

The trial for Thornsbury is set for October 15.

The trial for Baisden is set for October 21.

Both were released on $10,000 bond last Thursday.

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