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WV experts: Mingo corruption may yield appeals

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MORGANTOWN (AP) -

By VICKI SMITH
Associated Press

Every case the Mingo County grand jury heard in 2009 could be tainted by allegations that suspended Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury appointed a friend as foreman to help him frame a romantic rival.

West Virginia State Bar President Harry Deitzler says the fact that the foreman was also a public officeholder and barred by law from holding the post guarantees that lawyers are considering challenges.

The state Supreme Court will have to decide if any are valid.

Federal prosecutors charged Thornsbury with conspiracy Thursday, hours after indicting a county commissioner on unrelated extortion charges.

Supreme Court administrator Steve Canterbury says formal legal challenges may come after the charges are resolved. But there's no guarantee lawyers won't petition for an investigation sooner.

The court will handle those issues as they arise.

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