Office of the Attorney General
Three Breathitt County Men Plead Guilty in Vote Buying Conspiracy

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 13, 2012  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway, United States Attorney of the Eastern District, Kerry B. Harvey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Perrye Turner, and Jack Smith, Chief of the Public Integrity Division at the Department of Justice jointly announce the guilty pleas of three men in a conspiracy to buy votes during the May 2010 primary election in Breathitt County.

Fifty-one-year-old Joseph Strong, 53-year-old George Daniel Strong and 54-year-old Richard L. Turner each pled guilty to a conspiracy charge on April 12, 2012. Seven people have now either pled guilty or been convicted by a jury for taking part in vote buying conspiracies in the 2010 primary election in Breathitt County. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and the FBI.

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 pled guilty to conspiring to buy votes for a candidate for Breathitt County Magistrate in the May 2010 primary election.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor and Brian Lichter represented the United States in this case.