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Thomson pleads not guilty to tampering

Paul Thomson
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Paul Thomson walks into federal court in Harrisonburg on Wednesday March 30. Daily Staff Photo

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City attorney not in court as he denies superseding counts

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG --Beleaguered Winchester defense attorney Paul Hampton Thomson has pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment handed down against him in U.S. District Court.

Thomson, 56, didn't have to show up in court to make the plea, and waived his appearance at arraignment.

Chief District Judge James P. Jones issued an order Tuesday allowing Thomson, 56, to waive his appearance so long as he signs a waiver to that effect and affirms that he is pleading not guilty to a superseding indictment, according to online court records.

Thomson, who served as Winchester commonwealth's attorney between 1986 and 2001, was indicted Jan. 20 on charges of conspiracy to alter a record in an official proceeding, possession of cocaine, two counts of tampering with phone record evidence and two counts of witness tampering.

A superseding indictment was handed down March 17, adding an additional tampering with evidence count and a count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness.

Nannette Susan Boden, 36, of Winchester, pleaded guilty last month to distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a federal investigation.

Boden, Thomson's legal assistant, has told investigators that Thomson used cocaine on nearly a daily basis, and that she would pick up cocaine for him from suppliers, according to court documents.

The government says that Thomson bought cocaine from his clients and then tampered with evidence to try to cover up his transactions.

On Monday, Thomson's attorney, John P. Flannery II, filed a motion to waive his arraignment on the superseding indictment, saying it "essentially charges Defendant with the same offenses, alleging very much the same conduct as the Indictment filed on January 20, 2011 for which Defendant was arraigned in person."

Thomson has reviewed discovery evidence related to the charges, the motion says.
He is free on $50,000 bond.

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