UPDATE: Sentencing delayed for former Martin city mayor

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MARTIN, Ky. (WYMT) - Update 7-17-14

The sentencing for the former Martin City mayor and her daughter was delayed Wednesday.

Thomasine Robinson and her daughter, Christine Whicker, will be sentenced October 7th.

Court documents indicate the delay is over how much restitution each will pay.

The jury convicted the two on conspiracy and fraud charges.

Robinson will also be sentenced that day on an unrelated federal vote-buying conviction.

A former Mayor of Martin and her husband were convicted of intentionally violating voters' civil rights in the 2012 elections.

A federal jury in Pikeville handed down the verdicts in the case of Thomasine Robinson and her husband, James "Red" Robinson.

Jurors also found her stepson, James Steven Robinson, guilty of conspiracy and vote buying.

They were accused of intimidating poor and disabled people for their votes.

This is the second federal conviction for Thomasine Robinson this year.

Update: 2/26/14

A former Eastern Kentucky mayor is now a convicted felon.

A federal jury Tuesday found former Martin mayor Thomasine Robinson guilty of scheming to defraud the Social Security Administration and misusing government money.

Robinson, 69, faces several years in prison after being found guilty on eight counts, including theft of social security disability benefits during her time as mayor of the Floyd County city.

"We are certainly pleased with the jury's verdict," said U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey. "We take it very seriously anytime federal dollars are misaproppriated."

The jury also convicted Robinson's daughter, Christine Whicker, 42, on the same charges.

"A lot of people in town were joking...they called this the Martin mafia," city councilman James Reynolds said. "This administration has been in...I think this is the second or third generation."

All charges were dropped against city bookkeeper Ethel Clouse.

"I thought the indictment of Ethel Clouse was grossly unfair," her attorney, Ned Pillersdorf, said. "What I told the jury was the only reason she was in court was the mayor actively misled her as to whether or not an employee was actually working for the city of Martin."

City officials are trying to put the drama behind them.

"It puts us in a dark spot," the city's current mayor, Sam Howell, said. "But maybe this will set an example for future city officials, not only in Martin but everywhere."

Robinson and Whicker are scheduled to be sentenced July 9.

The jury returned the verdicts Tuesday night after about two hours of deliberation and two days of trial.

Another former city employee, Ginger Michelle Halbert, pleaded guilty last week to one charge of theft of government money. She is set to be sentenced July 6.

Updated: 2-26-14

Former Martin Mayor Thomasine Robinson and Christine Whicker have been found guilty on all counts related to their attempts to defraud the federal government of money.

All charges against Ethel Clouse were dismissed.

The sentencing for Robinson and Whicker is set for June 9th.
Updated: 2-19-14

Former Martin City employee Ginger Halbert is expected to enter a guilty plea to federal charges on Friday in Pikeville.

In October, a federal grand jury indicted Halbert along with former Mayor Thomasine Robinson, Christine Whicker, and Ethel Lee Clouse for allegedly defrauding the social security administration and misapplying federal funds.

The motion for re-arraignment did not indicate which charges Halbert would plead guilty to.

Prosecutors say the four embarked on a scheme to pay Halbert for her volunteer work for the city by steering federal funds to her from 2006 until January of last year.
A former Martin City Mayor pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Former Mayor Thomasine Robinson and five others were indicted in December on a vote buying scheme.

Prosecutors say that Robinson and the others conspired together to intimidate, oppress, threaten, and even injure voters in Martin.

A trial date for the group is set for March 10th. A trial is expected to last four days.

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