Farmer pleads guilty to government corruption charges

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - He went from a UK basketball star to Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner, but now Richie Farmer could be heading to prison after pleading guilty to government corruption charges.

Farmer entered the plea this morning at the Federal Courthouse in Frankfort.

Investigators accused him of hiring friends, giving them few responsibilities, and stealing state property.

Richie Farmer didn't say a word to us, but his attorney did. After Farmer entered a guilty plea in court, he and his lawyer stepped out and spoke about the deal, and their hopes for Farmer's future.

J. Guthrie True is Farmer's attorney. True says, "Ritchie's glad to bring this chapter of his life to a close. This has been difficult on him, his family and, particularly his boys."

Farmer, in court Friday, pleaded guilty to actions taken during his time as Agriculture Commissioner.

True says, "Sometimes, some people are unfortunate enough to pay for it in very public ways. Ritchie has."

Farmer has been a public figure for a long time. The former University of Kentucky point guard turned to politics, even ran for Lieutenant Governor. It was ultimately his time as Agriculture Commissioner that brought up ethical and criminal charges.

US Attorney Kerry Harvey says, "Mr. Farmer as we all know started his political career really with unlimited and with the best wishes of all Kentuckians. It's unfortunate that we have come to this day."

Farmer is expected to spend two years in prison, and pay $120,500 in restitution. Part of the restitution money is expected to go back to the Department of Agriculture to pay the cost of the initial audit.

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