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Former city prosecutor charged in tampering

Related Information

pdf PDF: Criminal complaint, United States of America vs. Paul Hampton Thomson and Nannette Boden

pdf PDF: Winchester police narrative and supplement concerning Paul Thomson (Warning: This document contains strong language. Two pages have been removed due to privacy concerns.)

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Thomson faces count of conspiring to alter federal documents in drug case

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- Winchester attorney and former chief prosecutor Paul Hampton Thomson faces disbarment and prison time if convicted in federal court of evidence and witness tampering.

Thomson and his assistant, Nannette Susan Boden, remain held at different regional jails without bond, each charged with one count of conspiring to tamper with evidence and to alter documents to influence a federal drug investigation, between Aug. 25 and Nov. 24, according to online records. An affidavit filed in the case in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg states Thomson tampered with a witness on Nov. 24.

The defendants face serving up to 20 years in a federal prison on each charge if convicted, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said.

Authorities charged the co-defendants in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg in documents filed Thursday then unsealed by magistrate Judge James G. Welsh on Monday. Welsh ordered Thomson and Boden held without bond because they both tested positive for drugs.

Thomson, 56, of 219 S. Loudoun St., is currently incarcerated at Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange. Boden, 35, is being held at Rockingham Regional Jail and has a bond hearing set for Thursday. The judge had not scheduled a hearing for Thomson as of Tuesday.

Attorneys convicted of a felony face automatic suspension of their license to practice law in the state, according to Jim McCauley, ethics counsel with the Virginia State Bar Association. McCauley would not comment on Thomson's case specifically.

Several of Thomson's current clients appeared for scheduled times in Frederick County and Winchester circuit courts on Tuesday morning. In Winchester, Judge John Wetsel Jr. postponed Thomson's cases to give defendants time to make other arrangements.

The Drug Enforcement Agency and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force on May 26 made the first of five controlled purchases of cocaine from a confidential source in Winchester, according to an affidavit filed by a special agent.

Agents arrested the informant on Aug. 24 after negotiating a buy for 10 ounces of cocaine, the affidavit states.

The informant spoke to investigators and claimed to have sold cocaine to Thomson and Boden on several occasions in the past few months, according to the affidavit.

Transactions occurred at 204 S. Loudoun St., the affidavit states, property identified as owned by Thomson. Boden bought the cocaine for Thomson from the informant.

"Among the statements made by CS1 was that he/she had been selling cocaine HCl to an attorney in Winchester named Paul Thomson," the affidavit states. "CS1 said he/she had met Thomson approximately three months prior at his law office in Winchester.

"CS1 said approximately one month after this initial meeting he/she made his/her first cocaine HCl to Thomson. CS1 said he delivered the cocaine to Thomson's assistant who CS1 knew as 'Neil.' Further investigation revealed that Neil is actually Nannette Boden."

Thomson and Boden visited the informant at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center days after the arrest and asked whether agents had inquired about the informant's customers, the affidavit states, to which the informant replied "no." In response to a question from Thomson, the informant said Boden's cell phone number was saved in the informant's phone.

"CS1 said Thomson became agitated and told Boden to change her cellular telephone immediately," the affidavit states.

Agents recorded a conversation Nov. 24 between the informant, then at the Rockingham jail, and Thomson. The informant told Thomson that Boden's name was in the phone under the name "Neil." Thomson told the informant to come up with an identity for "Neil."

But the next day, at approximately 7:45 a.m., Winchester police were called to check out a suspicious person or mental subject on West Clifford Street, according to an incident report filed in the federal court.

A caller reported seeing Thomson walking with a large pole, wearing a green vest and "yelling 'I'm going to kill you.'" The officer said Thomson "appeared erratic in his movements, and he had difficulty completing a sentence before moving on to further thoughts," the report states.

Longtime friend and fellow attorney William A. "Beau" Bassler was standing by at the scene, according to the report.

"Bassler informed the officer that Paul had appeared erratic for past several weeks, and appeared to be worsening," the report states.

The officer spoke to Thomson's wife, Anna, who said she was worried about her husband.

Thomson was taken to Winchester Medical Center but released after a counselor from Northwestern Community Services determined that he did not meet the criteria for a temporary detention order.


This is so very sad. Paul is a very good person and attorney I only wish him well. I hope whatever happened can be resolved and he can move on in a helathly manner.

I understand that the role of a newspaper is to report the events and happenings of the community. The article itself informs readers of the essence of what happened. However, I take issue with posting a copy of the police report regarding Mr. Thomson on Thanksgiving. Why is it important for the public to know such emberassing details pertaining to this incident? Was any thought given to how the release of this information would impact his family and their interactions with the community? While I generally respect the paper's reporting of the news, posting of such information is not only inconsiderate but also irresponsible.

Amen, J! What possible purpose was there to posting the WPD report?

I would also like to point out that it is stated that two pages were removed for the sake of privacy. Really? It seems to me the privacy of Mr. Thomson, Mrs. Thomson and Mr. Bassler was already violated.

I agree with your views "J", exposing embarassing info is what the media seems to do best these days ( ex. how many other cities advertise the loss of a family property in the news paper? or what they paid for a property/taxes.- I'm sure the Paper has it's best circulations when the delinquent tax lists get published!) Aren't times hard enough without having to bury your head in your own town? Face it , we live in a nosey town! That being said, I do believe if the media reports on "John Doe" who lives in the trailer park for his crimes, "King Joe" living on the hill should get the same treatment.

I agree with J(The one with the big ph.)

Yes, yes, yes, I agree.

It's public information and record.

No matter what has transpired the fact remains that Mr. Thompson is a good man that is human and has allegedly made a huge mistake. That still remains to be seen.
Mr. Thompson served the citizens of Winchester and the commonwealth of Virginia for twelve years and during that time he and his staff secured a capital murder conviction that sent the convicted scum to his proper end.
It is sad that Mr. Thompson has fallen so low, but at this point he needs support and encouragement so that he can return to being the honorable man he has been and continues to be deep inside.

You have done a fine job of pointing out the obvious, Coke.fo.life (seriously!? coke.fo.life!? Either one's teeth would rot out or...well, the other has much more detrimental effects). Public record can be sought by the curious person, but when it is served to the public on a platter that requires no more effort than a click of the mouse, the information spreads like wildfire. Mr. Thomson may have committed crimes but his family has not and they are the ones who have to face those who have read the reports.

My prayers are with Paul and Anna. Paul is human, but unless you are perfect, why condemn him. No one knows his heart unless they have walked in his shoes.

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