Knott judge-executive's motion for a new trial is denied

April 5, 2011 

Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson's motion for a new trial was denied Monday in a federal vote-buying case.

Thompson, who was appointed in 2005 by then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher to fill convicted and resigned Judge-Executive Donnie Newsome's seat, was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months in prison for a scheme to use county and state money for paving roads and private drives to influence the 2006 election. Thompson, who is free while his appeal is pending, won re-election in November.

Thompson asked for a new trial based on the fact that prosecutors had not fully disclosed which witnesses received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove reviewed witness records and criticized prosecutors for not keeping a list of promises of immunity, but he said most of the agreements were disclosed to defense attorneys.

"As for the few immunity agreements that were not disclosed, there is no reasonable probability that had the Defendants possessed this information and decided to use it to attack the credibility of those witnesses, the outcome of the trial would have been different," Van Tatenhove wrote.

Thompson's attorneys could not be reached for comment Monday evening. The resolution of the motion for a new trial could allow his appeal to proceed; it has been pending for more than a year.

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