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Trial, hearing dates set for officers accused of witness tampering

RICHMOND — A judge scheduled a March 22 trial for three Richmond police officers accused of trying to intimidate or tamper with a female witness.

Madison Circuit Court Judge William Clouse set the date during a hearing Thursday in which several motions were discussed.

Clouse also scheduled a Monday hearing on a defense motion that seeks the appointment of a special prosecutor to the case and to have the Madison commonwealth's attorney's office disqualified.

The defense motion says Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jennifer Smith will be required to testify about her actions in the case and therefore cannot serve as prosecutor.

Clouse denied a defense motion that sought to expand a "no contact order" to include representatives of the commonwealth's attorney's office and the sheriff's office. Attorneys for the three officers alleged that the female witness has been intimidated by the commonwealth's attorney's office and sheriff's office.

Clouse said the defense and prosecution may seek to contact the woman, but he added that the woman does not have to speak to them.

"She doesn't have to talk to anybody she doesn't want to," Clouse said.

Clouse also ordered that an audiotape of a Kentucky State Police interview with the woman and an unedited transcript of that interview be unsealed. Both had been sealed in the case's court file.

A Madison County grand jury indicted Sgt. James Rogers on a count of intimidating or tampering with a witness. Officers Garry Murphy and Brian Hensley were each indicted on a count of complicity to commit the intimidation of or tampering with a witness.

Murphy also was indicted on a charge of fourth-degree assault for allegedly hitting or smacking the woman.

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