Supreme Court revokes former Mingo prosecutors Sparks’ law licen - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Supreme Court revokes former Mingo prosecutors Sparks’ law license

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Days after former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks resigned, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals announced it revoked his law license.

Sparks was charged in an information from the U.S. Attorney's Office Oct. 9 with being involved in a conspiracy to deprive a Mingo County man of his constitutional rights.

He resigned the same day and said he would agree to surrender his law license and stop fighting the license suspension hearing the Office of Disciplinary Counsel had started against him in August.

An information typically is filed when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

The information explains that a local businessman, George White, printed campaign signs for several Mingo County politicians in the 2012 election.

White, 65, owner of White's Signs in Delbarton, printed signs for then-magistrate Eugene Crum, who was running for sheriff.

Crum won the election, and White repeatedly attempted to collect a $3,000 debt from Crum, prosecutors said.

During his first month in office, prosecutors said Crum arranged for White to be arrested. Crum did this, according to federal prosecutors, because he obtained prescription pills from White for his own personal use.

White hired a lawyer who was in contact with the FBI with the intention of pursuing Crum. White told the FBI that before he was arrested, he unlawfully provided Crum with prescription narcotic pills on several occasions and Crum violated election laws.

Proscutors said Crum discovered White's relationship with the attorney, which prompted Crum and other county officials, including Sparks, to ask White to use a different lawyer in exchange for a favorable plea deal.

Federal prosecutors assert that the officials wanted to stop White and his attorney from giving more information to the FBI.

Crum was shot and killed in April.

"Regrettably, I made a mistake in judgment and now accept the consequences," Sparks wrote in his resignation letter. "My attempt to prevent potential injury to the reputation and drug enforcement efforts of the late Sheriff Eugene Crum was unjustifiable."

Sparks could face as much as one year in prison.