Ky. lawmakers skip initial hearing as ethics committee investigates sexual harassment settlement

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Four Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have waived an initial hearing before an ethics commission investigating their involvement in a secret sexual harassment settlement.

Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission Chairman George Troutman said Tuesday the lawmakers agreed to skip the "probable cause" hearing.

Troutman says the next step is to schedule a hearing in which the commission will determine whether the lawmakers committed ethics violations. The commission will hear testimony and review evidence.

The lawmakers under investigation are former House Speaker Jeff Hoover along with Reps. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green, Brian Linder of Dry Ridge and Michael Meredith of Oakland.

The commission took up their case behind closed doors Tuesday. The lawmakers and their attorneys attended. Hoover and Linder declined comment beforehand.

Troutman says the next hearing will be open to the public.

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