[OVC-discuss] Kentucky officials arrested for vote fraud

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sun Mar 22 2009 - 17:08:45 CDT

also discussed on Slashdot ...


Several Clay County Officials Arrested On Federal Charges

Posted: March 19, 2009 12:56 PM PDT

Updated: March 19, 2009 02:41 PM PDT

Five Clay County officials, including the circuit court judge, the county
clerk, and election officers were arrested Thursday after they were indicted
on federal charges accusing them of using corrupt tactics to obtain
political power and personal gain.

The 10-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, accused the defendants of a
conspiracy from March 2002 until November 2006 that violated the
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO is a
federal statute that prosecutors use to combat organized crime. The
defendants were also indicted for extortion, mail fraud, obstruction of
justice, conspiracy to injure voters' rights and conspiracy to commit voter

According to the indictment, these alleged criminal actions affected the
outcome of federal, local, and state primary and general elections in 2002,
2004, and 2006. The indictment accused the defendants of the following
criminal actions:

- Clay County Circuit Court Judge Russell Cletus Maricle, 65, and school
superintendent Douglas C. Adams, 57, allegedly used their status in the
county to influence the appointment of corrupt members to the Clay County
Board of Election Officials and caused election officers to commit acts of
extortion, mail fraud, and bribery. Maricle also allegedly instructed a
witness to testify falsely before a federal grand jury in Lexington.

- Clay County Clerk, Freddy Thompson, 45, allegedly provided money to
election officers to be distributed by the officers to buy votes and he also
instructed officers how to change votes at the voting machine. The
indictment also accused Thompson of a false testimony before a grand jury in

- Election officer William E. Stivers, 56, allegedly marked votes or issued
tickets to voters who had sold their votes and changed votes at the voting
machine. Stivers also allegedly instructed a witness to testify falsely
before a federal grand jury.

- Paul E. Bishop, 60, allegedly marked voters or issued tickets to voters
who sold their votes and he also hosted alleged meetings at his home where
money was pooled together by candidates and distributed to election
officers, including himself. He was also accused of instructing the officers
how to change votes at the voting machine.

- William B. Morris, 66, and Debra L. Morris, 49, distributed funds pooled
by the members of the scheme in order to buy votes. The couple owned and
operated a transportation sanitation company and was active in the political
affairs of Clay County.

A board of election officials consists of the county clerk, the sheriff, and
two members appointed by the State Board of Elections, selected from a list
of names submitted by the Republican and Democratic parties in the county.
In addition, the board is required to hire election officers, which includes
two judges, one clerk and one sheriff for each precinct in each election of
every year in which a primary and general election is held.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the FBI,
Kentucky State Police, and Appalachia HIDTA. The indictment was presented to
the grand jury by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen C. Smith and Ken
Taylor. The defendants' appearance before the United States District Court
has not yet been set by the Court in London, Ky.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court
after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the
federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.

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Received on Tue Mar 31 23:17:03 2009

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