Sen. Maroney trial delayed indefinitely
MOUNDSVILLE — The misdemeanor trial for Republican state Sen. Mike Maroney is again delayed indefinitely after languishing for more than a year in Marshall County Magistrate Court, because his attorney requested a special prosecutor to oversee the case.
Maroney was implicated in a prostitution ring in August 2019 as one of eight men charged with soliciting a prostitute in Glen Dale. Nearly all the others have since either had their cases dismissed or been convicted and fined, yet Maroney’s case has been continued and delayed numerous times in the intervening 13 months.
He was set to have a pretrial hearing today before Magistrate Tom Wood, with a trial to follow Monday.
However, Marshall County Prosecutor Rhonda Wade said Wednesday that Maroney’s attorney, Paul Harris, had requested on Tuesday that a special prosecutor oversee the case, citing an unspecified conflict of interest with Wade. Wade said she was unsure what the conflict was but granted the request in the interest of transparency.
“I believe they thought there was some sort of conflict,” she said. “My office did not believe there was a conflict, but just to avoid the appearance of impropriety, we have requested a special prosecutor.”
Wade did not know Wednesday where the special prosecutor would be drawn from, other than that they likely would be from outside Maroney’s 2nd Senate District, which includes much of Marshall, Monongalia, Marion and Gilmer counties, as well as all of Wetzel, Tyler, Ritchie, Doddridge and Calhoun counties.
Wood’s office did not have a date set for Maroney’s next hearing as of Wednesday morning.
Regarding whether the delays could have been politically motivated, since Maroney is up for re-election in November, Wade declined to comment. She has maintained her silence on that aspect of the matter since it first came to light last year.
“I’ve handled this misdemeanor case just like every other misdemeanor case that’s come through my office, and I will continue to do so,” she said.
Harris did not respond to calls seeking comment on the case or why the issue with the special prosecutor was not addressed further in advance of the hearing date.
Maroney, a first-term senator, defeated challenger Elijah Dean earlier this year in the Republican primary race for the 2nd Senate District seat. He is running against Democrat Josh Gary, who has openly criticized a lack of transparency regarding Maroney’s legal battles in this matter, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Wade did not seek re-election to her post as county prosecutor; Joseph Canestraro is the only candidate to seek the spot.