Judge Accused of Framing Romantic Rival

Federal indictment charges Michael Thornsbury with using his position to frame secretary's husband.
3:38 | 08/16/13

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Transcript for Judge Accused of Framing Romantic Rival
the day. Astounding charges leveled against a west virginia judge, accused of repeatedly trying to frame his lover's husband and put him behind bars. Prosecutors painting a picture of a man obsessed, a man who would stop at nothing to get, well, his man. Abc's rob nelson has the story. Reporter: As a judge, michael thornsbury put other people behind bars. This morning, prosecutors say that's where he belongs. He corrupted the system of justice in mingo county. Reporter: In a federal indictment, the west virginia circuit court judge is charged with trying to use his position to frame the husband of the woman he loved. The truth will be told. Reporter: Prosecutors say it began five years ago, when the judge was having a romantic relationship with his secretary, kim woodruff. When she woke off the affair. Thorsbury hatched several plans to send her husband, robert, to jail. Among them, prosecutors say the 57-year-old judge asked a friend to plant drugs under robert woodruff's truck and ask police to stop and search it. When the friend backed out, he allegedly convinced a state trooper to accuse his romantic rival of stealing scrap metal from his job. And woodruff was charged with the theft. I had no idea or would I have dreamed that a judge would be behind criminal charges being filed on someone who committed no crime. Reporter: This morning, woodruff's lawyer says dropped charges are not enough. Certainly, we will pursue civil actions in the future. Reporter: A civil suit may be the least of his troubles. He pleaded not guilty to two charges of conspiracy. This morning, he's out on bond. Justice, the saying goes, is blind. But this morning, prosecutors say it was love, not justice, that blinded michael thornsbury, leading a man sworn to uphold the law, to secretly try to break it. For "good morning america," rob nelson, abc news, new york. Thank you, rob. We're going to bring in abc's chief legal affairs anchor. Dan abrams. At 7:34, it's hard to surprise this desk. This is going on over five years. You're not just talking about one effort. Allegations. T first, the allegation he tries to plant drugs. Then, he tries to create this larceny situation. Then, later on, this guy gets into a kerfuffle with a couple of people. And the judge allegedly is responsible for getting this guy in trouble. It goes to the point where, he appoints, they say, his business partner to be the foreperson of the grand jury. And the judge is sitting there, writing subpoenas for all to target this romantic rival. It is a crazy, crazy allegation. We have a corruption judge, which is the architect of corruption. Five years. If I'm a resident in mingo county, am I not entitled to think, what else could he have done? It's interesting because the reason, example, he got to appoint the foreperson is because he's the only circuit county judge there. When that happens, you have the authority to appoint the grand jury foreperson. But look. They would say there's been an in depth investigation here that a lot has come out. And we'll have to see what happens. I think we'll be discussing what happens next. Thank you, dan.

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