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Eastern Kentucky Magistrate Indicted On Election-Fraud Charge

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - A federal indictment charges a county
magistrate in eastern Kentucky with taking $9,000 from a local
official and using some of it in a vote-buying scheme.
The grand jury on Thursday indicted Fred Clinton Johnson on one
count of conspiracy to commit election fraud in the May 2002
primary. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Johnson won the 2002 race for Clay County magistrate and was
re-elected to a second term last year.
The indictment said that two weeks before the 2002 primary,
then-county Clerk Jennings B. White and other unnamed people
delivered $9,000 to Johnson for vote buying.
That year, politically motivated shootings also plagued the
election.
While White was running for re-election, his van was riddled
with 33 bullets, and Thompson, had a bullet fired into his kitchen.
A private investigator hired to investigate White's past was shot
after delivering documents showing that White had been charged with
assault and battery with intent to rape in 1968. The charges were
later dismissed.
White lost his re-election bid. Three years later, he pleaded
guilty to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges and
faces the possibility of a lengthy prison term.
Johnson, who operates a service station, told the Lexington
Herald-Leader on Friday that White did bring money to him in 2002,
but he denied he used it to buy votes.
"That would be a falsehood," he said of the charge.
Johnson said he kept the money and later gave it federal agents
investigating the election.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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