LEXINGTON, Ky. - A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Knott County judge-executive in a vote buying case.
A jury convicted Randy Thompson in 2008 of misusing public funds and scheming to buy votes during the 2006 election. He was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months in prison, but the sentenced was postponed while he appealed the conviction. The appeal alleged insufficient evidence and a violation of due-process rights.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reviewed the case and issued its 39-page opinion on Tuesday.
"Based on the foregoing review of the record, we find no error in the district court's decisions," the opinion said. "For this reason, the defendants' convictions and sentences are affirmed."
Thompson referred a call Tuesday night for comment to his attorney, who declined to comment saying he hadn't yet read the opinion.
The ruling also upheld the convictions of John Mac Combs and Phillip G. Champion, who were assistants to the judge-executive, and former magistrate Ronnie Adams. A jury convicted them of participating in the vote-buying scheme along with Thompson. Combs was sentenced to 36 months, Champion to 18 months and Adams to 32 months, but they were allowed defer the sentences while the case was being appealed.
It was unclear when they might begin service their sentences, which could be delayed further if the case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The opinion described Knott County as "a county with a history of political and electoral corruption."
Thompson was appointed to the position in 2006 after the resignation of his predecessor, Donnie Newsome, who was convicted in a separate vote-buying case.
Voters re-elected Thompson to a second full term in 2010.
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