AG's Office Appoints Special Prosecutor In Henry Case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Attorney General Greg Stumbo's office has appointed a special prosecutor to review a campaign finance complaint lodged against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Henry.

Stumbo, who is also involved on a slate in the Democratic primary, referred a complaint by one of Henry's former campaign workers to special prosecutor James Crawford, a commonwealth's attorney in Carrollton.

Leslie Holland, Henry's former campaign aide, complained about Henry's fundraising tactics to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Her attorney, Oliver Barber Jr., forwarded the complaint to the attorney general's office this week, saying action needed to come before the May 22 primary.

"I think it's great that they appointed a commonwealth's attorney - he's an experienced prosecutor," Barber said. "The reason it had to come this fast is we don't have much time."

Henry spokesman C.D. Marshall said Holland was attempting to "do an end-run around the normal legal process." Henry has maintained he did nothing wrong.

The complaint before the registry is still pending.

"We feel that she believes she can get away with this because it's an election year and she can subvert the normal process," Marshall said. "And we feel that she will be just as unsuccessful in finding a solution to her baseless claims in this as she has been in trying to push the KREF."

Henry is one of seven Democrats seeking the party nomination. Holland made several allegations in her complaint to the registry, including one that Henry had taken campaign contributions before he officially entered the governor's race.

Henry, the lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003, has denied any wrongdoing, and has denied that Holland worked as his campaign manager.

The other Democrats in the race are: former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, demolition contractor Otis Hensley Jr., Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and House Speaker Jody Richards. Stumbo is Lunsford's running mate.

Because Stumbo is involved in the governor's race, there would be "an obvious conflict of interest" that would keep the attorney general's office from investigating the matter, prosecutor Scott Crawford Sutherland wrote in a letter to the state police.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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