LEXINGTON, KY - Former public officials from Manchester, KY., admitted in federal court that they conspired to organize a long running criminal enterprise to achieve personal gain and control over the politics in Clay County.
Former longtime Clay County Circuit Judge, Russell Cletus Maricle; schools superintendent, Douglas C. Adams; county clerk, Freddy W. Thompson; democratic election commissioner, Charles W. Jones; and election officer William E. Stivers pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell on Wednesday.
The defendants admitted that starting in 2002 they conspired to gain control of the Clay County board of elections and corruptly used the board’s authority to control the outcome of elections in the county. In order to carry out this scheme, the defendants acknowledged that they pooled their money together to bribe voters and that they also appointed corrupt election officers who ensured that the bribed voters delivered for the slate of candidates that the members of the conspiracy wanted to win.
Three other co-defendants, Stanly Bowling, and Debra and Bart Morris previously pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Sentencing for the defendants is scheduled for February. Maricle faces a maximum of 87 months imprisonment; Adams, a maximum of 75 months imprisonment; Thompson, a maximum of 66 months imprisonment; Jones, a maximum of 69 months imprisonment; and Stivers, a maximum of 72 months imprisonment. However, any sentence following a conviction would come after the Court considers the U.S. Sentencing guidelines and the federal statutes.