Politics & Government

State Rep. Keith Hall pleads not guilty to bribery charge; trial scheduled for January

Keith Hall, a former Kentucky state representative, went on trial Monday for allegedly paying a state mine inspector to ignore violations at Hall's surface mines in Pike County.
Keith Hall, a former Kentucky state representative, went on trial Monday for allegedly paying a state mine inspector to ignore violations at Hall's surface mines in Pike County. Photo provided

A federal judge has set a date for the bribery trial of state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, and a retired state mine inspector. The trial is scheduled for the week of Jan. 5 in Pikeville.

Hall, 55, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in U.S. District Court to one count of bribery. The mine inspector, Kelly Shortridge, 54, pleaded not guilty to bribery, extortion and lying to federal law-enforcement agents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins released the defendants to court supervision until their trial, which could be postponed if attorneys in the case request it. The next hearing in the case is set for Dec. 23.

In his release paperwork, Hall stated that he now lives in Frankfort, not in Pike County, which he represented in the Kentucky House for 14 years. Hall was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary in May.

A grand jury indicted Hall and Shortridge last month for an alleged bribery scheme related to Hall's Pike County coal mines. Prosecutors said Hall secretly paid $46,343 to Shortridge from May 2009 to December 2010 to ignore repeated violations at the mines. Shortridge was charged additionally for trying to extort even more money from Hall and for lying to FBI agents about his involvement in the scheme, they said.

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