Former Breathitt Co. superintendent sentenced in vote-buying scheme

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - A former eastern Kentucky school superintendent has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for leading a vote-buying conspiracy during the 2010 primary elections.

U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell on Tuesday also levied a $250,000 fine on 66-year-old Arch Turner. He was Breathitt County superintendent from 2005 until his retirement this year after he was charged. The fine is more than six times the maximum recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines.

Caldwell called Turner's crimes "heinous and cynical" because they struck at the center of the democratic process. Turner pleaded guilty in July to distributing money to others to buy votes for candidates he supported in local races.

When pleading guilty earlier this year, Turner admitted to withdrawing cash from his personal bank account and giving it to other co-conspirators to by votes.

Eleven others, including a former sheriff, were convicted or pleaded guilty in related cases.

Turner said little throughout the hearing and was ordered immediately into federal custody.

The sentencing was originally scheduled in October but was pushed back so Turner's attorney could have more time to prepare for concerns with a sentencing issue.

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