Office of the Attorney General
Three Breathitt County Residents Sentenced for Vote Buying Conspiracy
Attorney General Jack Conway, United States Attorney of the Eastern District, Kerry B. Harvey, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Perrye Turner and Chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice, Jack Smith, jointly announce the sentencing of three Jackson, Ky. residents following a vote buying conspiracy in the May 2010 Primary Election in Breathitt County.
U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell sentenced 61-year-old Naomi Johnson and 44-year-old Earl Young on Thursday, July 26 to four months in prison for conspiring to buy votes and vote buying. Judge Caldwell sentenced 62-year-old Jackie Jennings to two months for vote buying and conspiracy. The charges are the result of a joint investigation by General Conway's Department of Criminal Investigations and the FBI.
The judge also ordered each of the defendants to serve 120 hours of community service and recommended they spend those hours educating the public about the dangers of vote buying. Evidence at the defendants' trial in April proved that all three conspired to buy votes for Michael Salyers, a candidate for county magistrate.
Testimony revealed 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.
Johnson and Young were found guilty at the April trial, while Jennings pled guilty on the first day of the same trial. Salyers was sentenced to 60 days in jail in May. He pled guilty to the vote buying conspiracy in February.
A total of 11 people have either entered guilty pleas or been convicted of charges related to buying votes in Breathitt County's May 2010 Primary Election.
Jennings, Johnson and Young will have to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences.
Prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor and Richard B. Evans with the Public Integrity Section.