Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden pleads guilty - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden pleads guilty in federal court

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U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced on Tuesday that Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge. According to a release, Baisden admitted to demanding that a Mingo County tire store sell him tires for his personal car at a deeply discounted price available only for government vehicles. When the store insisted that Baisden pay the same price an ordinary citizen would, he cut off its county business, costing the store tens of thousands of dollars since 2009.

"Elected officials have to play by the same rules as everyone else," said Goodwin. "This defendant abused his power to shake down an honest business for special favors. It's brazen, ugly corruption. Old-fashioned graft like this destroys public confidence in government. Citizens deserve better."

Baisden, 66, has been a member of the Mingo County Commission since 2009. Prior to his election as a county commissioner, he was Mingo County's assessor. Baisden's plea agreement requires him to resign from the county commission and to never seek an elected office again.

United States District Court Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., presided over the plea hearing.  Baisden will be sentenced on Jan.14, 2014. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, although non-binding federal sentencing guidelines call for a significantly lower sentence.