Subpoenas Issued in Kanawha Prosecutor Case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Subpoenas have been issued for the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney. Investigators want financial records for Mark Plants and his wife.

These subpoenas are part of an investigation into a violation of a Domestic Violence Petition and Domestic Battery charges filed against Plants.

He is accused of using excessive force while disciplining his son and having contact with his kids when he was told not to.

At the time of our first investigation in January, his wife, Sarah Foster, was under fire for having a half-dozen dismissed tickets and now the special prosecutor said he's looking closer at other records.

He said it all comes down to credibility and motive in the domestic case.

Sid Bell, the special prosecuting attorney assigned to the case is asking for five years worth of documents.

Bell subpoenaed at least five agencies for documents involving Mark Plants and his former secretary, who is also his new wife, Sarah Foster.

The special prosecutor subpoenaed the city of Charleston for health insurance records for Foster, her ex-husband and a child, including medical costs for her most recent pregnancy.

He also subpoenaed the Prosecutor's Office and County Clerk's office for records about Foster's paid time off and pay raises from 2009 to 2013.

Bell said while investigating the abuse allegations, he received information from witnesses that's called for a closer look at records.

Plants dismissed favoritism allegations involving his wife when we asked him in January.

"Everybody in my office received a raise over the last five years, every support staff, every attorney. She received not only pay raises, but promotions," Plants said.

The subpoenas also request information about raises for all employees of the office. County commissioner Kent Carper said Plants has the ultimate power over his budget.

"Those pay raises did not seem out of line with other similar positions," said County Commissioner, Kent Carper.

On top of all of those requests, Special Prosecutor Bell also wants to see all records from the Prosecutor's Office's bank accounts, including payroll documents from 2009 to 2014. That includes accounts from two banks with Foster's and Plants' names on them.

In an e-mail to NewsChannel 3, Bell said the documents play an important role in the domestic case saying:

"Obtaining these records, many of which are public records, would explain the financial and intimate relationship between the defendant and his current wife and bring into question their credibility and his motives for committing the alleged offenses."

Plants attorney, James Cagle, filed a motion to quash the subpoenas.

In the motion, Cagle said the requests were irrelevant to the domestic case and were to:

"Begin some faux investigation which has nothing to do with these two actions," referring to the domestic case.

The County Clerk's office said compiling all of these documents will take some time.

The chief deputy told us this kind of request is a first for him, in his 35 years of service.

WSAZ.com reached out to Mark Plants and his attorney for comment, they did not return our calls.

Right now, Mark Plants is still disqualified from handling domestic battery cases involving parents and children.

For now, special prosecutors have been appointed to handle those cases.


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