Mingo magistrate, prosecutor resign after charges filed
Rachel Baldwin firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A corruption investigation of local government in Mingo County continued to widen Wednesday, when U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin filed an information outlining cases that investigators have built against Mingo County Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks and Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler, who both resigned from office earlier that same day.
The order against Sparks reads as follows:
“In or about February of 2013, George White was charged with drug-related criminal offenses in circuit court in Mingo County. In or about March 2013, Baisden and the late Sheriff, Eugene Crum, learned that White, with the assistance of his criminal defense attorney, Charles ‘Butch’ West, was providing information to the news media and possibly to federal law enforcement officials about criminal conduct by the sheriff.
“David Baisden (since then indicted and resigned from office) and the sheriff advised Prosecutor Sparks that they would seek to coerce White into firing West in order to prevent the defendant and his attorney from further providing information about criminal conduct by the sheriff. Baisden, through a known messenger, then offered White a more favorable plea agreement if he would fire West. In response, White did fire West and replaced him with Attorney Ron Rumora.
“After White fired West, Sparks entered into a plea agreement with White under which three of the five criminal counts pending against White were dismissed. As part of the plea agreement, Sparks also accepted a forfeiture from White of $10,000, which was $10,000 less than the forfeiture Sparks originally intended to seek from White. Moreover, as part of the agreement, Sparks agreed to recommend that the sentences for the two counts to which White would plead guilty would run concurrently rather than consecutively. Sparks negotiated this plea agreement in part with Baisden himself and, at Baisden’s behest, entered into a plea agreement more favorable than he otherwise would have. Sparks did these acts knowing that a more favorable plea agreement for White was a necessary part of the scheme to coerce White into firing West in order to protect Sheriff Crum. Because Sparks was the County Prosecuting Attorney, his cooperation in this regard was necessary to the scheme’s success.
“Wherefore, in or about March 2013, in Mingo County, WV, Sparks did, under color of law, willfully and knowingly subject George White to the deprivation of a right, privilege, and immunity secured and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the U.S., and did aid, abet and counsel others known to the U.S. Attorney in doing the same.
“This act is in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 242 and 2 (a misdemeanor offense that carries a possible sentence of up to one year in a federal prison).”
The information against Toler reads as follows:
“In or about April of 2012 in Mingo County, WV, in an election for federal office, defendant Dallas L. Toler knowingly and willfully deprived and defrauded and attempted to deprive and defraud the residents of the State of WV of a fair and impartially conducted election process by the procurement and submission of a voter registration application that he knew to be materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent under the laws of the State of WV, in that he procured and submitted, and caused to be procured and submitted, a voter registration in the name of a person known to the U.S. Attorney which voter registration application stated that the known person was not under conviction, probation, or parole for a felony, which in truth and fact, as Toler then well knew, the known person was on probation for a felony at the time the voter registration application was completed and submitted.
“This act is in violation of Title 42, U.S. Code, Section 1973gg-10, and Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 2 (a felony that carries a possible sentence of up to five years in a federal prison).”
Arraignments of the defendants had not been scheduled as of press-time on Wednesday. Additional information will be released to the public as it is handed down by federal prosecutors.
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