Judge steps aside in bid-rigging case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge has stepped aside from a bid-rigging case involving a former state transportation secretary and a wealthy road builder.

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves cited a potential conflict of interest in his recusal order filed Wednesday morning. U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell has been assigned to replace Reeves on the case.

Reeves said one of his former law firm colleagues worked on a 1983 case involving a company called Mountain Enterprises, which is owned by the road builder charged in the current case, Leonard Lawson of Lexington.

Lawson, former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and Lawson aide Brian Billings are accused of conspiring to steer about $130 million worth of highway construction contracts to Lawson's companies. They have all entered not guilty pleas.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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