LONDON, KY - Three Breathitt County men admitted their roles in a conspiracy to buy votes during the May 2010 primary election in Breathitt County.
Joseph Strong, 51, George Daniel Strong, 53, and Richard L. Turner, 54, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge yesterday. Seven people have now either pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury for taking part in vote buying conspiracies in the 2010 primary election in Breathitt County.
Court documents state that during the primary election, George Strong provided Richard Turner with vote buying money. Turner was given several thousand dollars from Strong and others in the parking lot of an elementary school in Breathitt County. He approached voters and offered to pay them to vote for a slate of candidates for various offices on the ballot. Turner transported voters to the poles and paid them after they voted.
Joseph Strong admitted that as part of the conspiracy, several voters lied about having a disability in order to qualify for assistance at the voting machine. Knowing that they were being paid for their vote, Strong assisted them in voting for the slate of candidates the conspiracy members wanted in office.
The men were indicted in November of last year.
Earlier this week, in a separate case, two people were convicted and another pleaded guilty to conspiring to buy votes for a candidate for Breathitt County Magistrate in the May 2010 primary election.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Jack Smith, Chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice and Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General jointly announced the pleas.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor and Brian Lichter represented the United States in this case.
The three defendants will appear for sentencing in August. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. However, the court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the statute governing the imposition of sentences before issuing a sentence.