Grand Jurors Refuse Indictment In Campaign Tape Tampering

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Grand jurors in western Kentucky refused
to issue indictments Friday after reviewing claims that Democrat Bruce Lunsford's Senate campaign tampered with a GOP digital recorder.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall said Sheriff Kevin Byars presented evidence to the grand jury in a brief meeting that began at 1 p.m. CST at the courthouse in Benton. Byars was the only witness.

"It was a unanimous decision on the part of all 12 grand jurors," Darnall said. "It didn't take them long to return a no true bill."

The tape recorder incident flared last week after the final debate in a race between Lunsford and Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who won re-election Tuesday.

National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer Richard St. Onge III filed a complaint claiming a recorder he placed on Lunsford's podium was taken and the contents were erased. McConnell's campaign enlisted the sheriff's help to get the recorder back a short time after the debate.

Darnall said the case had been complicated because St. Onge did not promptly hand over the recorder to investigators. Darnall said he asked the GOP staffer last Thursday to give the recorder to Byars as soon as possible, but that the recorder wasn't handed over until Monday.

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