Guilty plea entered in vote-buying case

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PIKEVILLE - On Friday one Magoffin County man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to vote-buying.

On March 11 Scott Lynn McCarty pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor violation, which stated on May 9, 2014, in Magoffin County, he aided and abetted another person to make an expenditure to a voter for voting in an election. The charge carries a potential penalty of not more than one year imprisonment, $100,000 fine and one year supervised released, plus a mandatory special assessment of $50.

Within his plea agreement, pursuant to the guilty plea to the single misdemeanor violation, the United States agreed to move at sentencing to dismiss the McCarty from the related federal indictment.

According to the agreement, McCarty aided and abetted the payment for voting by verifying the votes of that person and directing her to the person who would pay her. 

"During the May primary election in Magoffin County in 2014, the Defendant encourage A.F. to vote. He acted as an assistor and accompanied A.F. into the voting booth to ensure she voted for specific candidates. After the voting, the Defendant directed A.F. to another person whom he knew would pay her for voting. A race for the United States Senate candidate appeared on the ballot."

A sealed supplemental plea agreement was also filed on Friday, though that information is not open to the public.

McCarty is set for sentencing for Monday, May 16, at 11:30 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Pikeville, Kentucky.

In the felony vote-buying case, four of the five defendants were also arraigned on Friday.

In the superseding indictment filed on Thursday, February 25, Larry Shepherd was added to the list of defendants, joining Magoffin County Magistrate District #1 Gary "Rooster" Risner, Tami Jo Risner, Mason Daniels and Scott Lynn McCarty, all charged with paying and offering to pay for votes in an election, broken down into 17 counts of felony offenses.

On Friday, March 11 Gary Risner, Daniels, McCarty and Shepherd pleaded not guilty to the felony  charges. A competency hearing is set for March 21 at 10 a.m. in Pikeville, or "as soon thereafter as she is returned to this district." She was in Texas undergoing a pretrial psychiatric or psychological examination. If she is found competent, her arraignment on the superseding indictment will proceed at that time.

Also important to note, the 2014 Magoffin County General Election also included the Magoffin County judge executive's race, which remains up in the air. While the incumbent, Dr. Charles Hardin won the election by 28 votes against republican candidate John Montgomery. Montgomery filed an election contest suit in December 2014 against Hardin and the Magoffin County Board of Elections and in February Circuit Judge John David Preston ruled to throw out the election results in the judge executive race and deemed the office vacant. In June a three-judge Court of Appeals panel agreed 2-to-1 with Preston's ruling, and in August the same three judges in another 2-to-1 vote denied a petition for rehearing. In October Hardin's attorney filed a motion for review with the Kentucky Supreme Court, and the case is still pending. Hardin is allowed to hold the office during the appeals process. Oral arguments will be heard in the case on Wednesday, April 27 at 11 a.m.

Editor's Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.