Judge lets hate crime case in Ky. proceed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge has turned away a challenge to a federal hate crimes law and allowed jury selection to start for two eastern Kentucky men charged under the statute.

Attorneys were set to begin selecting a panel Tuesday to hear the case against 20-year-old Anthony Ray Jenkins of Partridge and his cousin, 37-year-old David Jason Jenkins of Cumberland. The two are charged in federal court in London with kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington at Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan County on April 4, 2011. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Pennington was attacked because he's gay.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled on Monday the law is constitutional because Congress wrote the statute in such a way as to ensure federal authorities would have the ability to prosecute people for attacks based on sexual orientation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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