A former Knox County magistrate illegally sold pain pills during the time he was running for re-election last year, a federal grand jury has charged.
The grand jury indicted Jerry “Rabbit” Cox on a total of six charges of illegally distributing hydrocodone or oxycodone in March and April 2018.
Cox was a candidate for the Republican nomination for magistrate in one of the county’s districts in the May 2018 primary.
He won the nomination but was defeated in November.
The drug charges against Cox carry a sentence of up to 20 years if he is convicted.
Cox, a former coal miner who also has run a used-car lot, earlier faced a federal charge of misappropriating county property.
He allegedly told county workers to spread gravel or install drainage tiles on private property, and even used his own truck to deliver gravel to private drives.
Giving people free gravel for their private drives has long been a common way for local officials to win votes in Eastern Kentucky.
However, there was no testimony that Cox asked anyone for a vote in return for gravel, his attorney, David S. Hoskins, said at the time.
A jury acquitted Cox in 2017.