Three more plead guilty to vote-buying conspiracy in Breathitt County

bestep@herald-leader.comApril 13, 2012 

Three Breathitt County men have pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to buy votes in the 2010 primary election.

George Daniel Strong, 53, who has been a county school-board member; his brother Joseph Strong, 51; and Richard L. Turner, 54, each pleaded guilty Thursday to a conspiracy charge, according to court records.

With those pleas, a total of seven people have pleaded guilty or been convicted of vote fraud in the May 2010 primary in the county, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.

School Superintendent Arch Turner is among those still facing vote-fraud charges related to the election.

Court records say George D. Strong and others gave several thousand dollars to Richard Turner in the parking lot of a county elementary school to use to buy votes.

Turner's role was to recruit voters who agreed to support a slate of candidates in return for being paid, according to his plea agreement.

For his part, Joseph Strong helped people cast their votes at the polling place. Strong admitted that a number of voters lied about needing assistance to vote because of a disability.

That allowed Strong to help them vote, as a means to make sure they voted for the candidates that members of the conspiracy were supporting.

The three are to be sentenced in August. They face up to five years in prison.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1.

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