LEXINGTON, KY - A federal jury sitting in Lexington convicted two Eastern Kentuckians for buying votes in the May 2010 primary election in Breathitt County.
The jury convicted Naomi Johnson, 61 and Earl Young, 44, of conspiring to buy votes and one count each of vote buying. The verdict was returned following two and a half days of trial and approximately three and a half hours of deliberation.
Another co-defendant, Jackie Jennings, 61, pleaded guilty to two vote buying counts and a conspiracy charge during the first day of the trial.
Evidence at trial proved that the three defendants conspired to buy votes for Michael Salyers, a candidate for county Magistrate.
Testimony proved that Salyers was provided hundreds of dollars to pay individuals to cast their votes for him by absentee ballot. Evidence showed that the defendants traveled with voters to the courthouse. Young and Jennings verified that the voters voted. Voters were paid after informing
Salyers they voted for him. One witness testified that he was paid $25.
Salyers pleaded guilty to the vote buying conspiracy in February.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, and Jack Smith, Chief of the Public Integrity Division at the Department of Justice jointly made the announcement today.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor and Richard B. Evans with the Public Integrity Division.
Jennings, Johnson and Young will appear in federal court for their sentences on July 26. Salyers will be sentenced on May 23. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison.