Politics & Government

Judge delays bribery trial of state Rep. Keith Hall

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 agreed Thursday to postpone the Jan. 5 bribery trial of state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps.

In her order, U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell said a new trial date will be set at a Dec. 18 hearing in Lexington. Hall's lawyer had requested the delay, saying he needed to review 13,807 pages of documents turned over as evidence by prosecutors.

"The continuance is necessary to permit the parties adequate time to prepare for the trial and, thus, serves the ends of justice," Caldwell wrote.

Hall, who is on pre-trial release, is expected to surrender his U.S. passport to probation officers when he returns this month from a vacation cruise. He was defeated in the Democratic primary in May and will leave office next month after spending 14 years in the Kentucky House.

A grand jury indicted Hall and retired state coal mine inspector Kelly Shortridge in October for an alleged bribery scheme related to Hall's Pike County mines. Prosecutors said Hall paid $46,343 to Shortridge from May 2009 to December 2010 to ignore repeated violations at the mines. Shortridge also was charged for trying to extort more money from Hall and for lying to FBI agents about his involvement in the scheme, prosecutors said.

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