Wed, May 23, 2018 11:01 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Five charged in vote fraud
LONDON — A Floyd County man and five Knott County men were indicted by a federal grand jury in London Friday in a continuing federal investigation into vote fraud.

Jimmy Lee Conley, 33, of Lackey, was indicted on five counts of paying voters in the May 26, 1998, primary election and one count of lying to the FBI.

Others indicted were Ronnie Neal Slone, 55, and Brady Warren Slone, 57, both of Pippa Passes, on three counts of buying absentee ballots and one count of lying to the FBI; Phillip Slone, 53, of Hindman, is charged with seven counts of buying absentee ballots; Patrick Wayne Madden, 45, of Littcarr, is charged with three counts of paying voters and lying to the FBI; and Jimmy Calhoun, 33, of Hindman, is charged with two counts of paying voters.

Friday's indictments come on the heels of nine in Pike County, including charges against former State Senator John Doug Hays and prominent attorney Ross Harris, who were indicted last month by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to buy votes "under the guise of distributing checks for 'voter hauling.'"

Along with Ross and Hays, Hays' wife, Brenda, and Tom Varney, Taylor Slone, David Dotson, Jerry Joe Dotson, Bobby Roy Justice and Jackie Darrell Smith, were also indicted.

The nine pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday at their arraignment in U.S. District Court in Pikeville.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, said in a prepared statement that his office wants to rid Eastern Kentucky of vote fraud.

"When the election process is corrupted, democracy is jeopardized," Van Tatenhove said. "It is only fair to all citizens that cast their ballots without interference or payment of that practice of buying votes, whether by paying cash or calling it 'vote hauling,' be stamped out in Eastern Kentucky. Accordingly, this office and the Department of Justice will continue to make it a priority to vigorously prosecute those who seek to corrupt the election process by the buying of votes."

All the Floyd, Knott and Pike Countians are being prosecuted under federal vote fraud laws because there were candidates for the United States Senate on the ballots in those elections.

The Pike County indictments were for alleged vote fraud in the May 2002 primary, which included candidates for the U.S. Senate on the ballot.

John Doug Hays was an unsuccessful candidate for district judge, being beaten by incumbent Darrell Mullins.

According to the indictment, Hays, his wife, Harris and "others known and unknown" met on various dates in October and November 2002, in Pike County, "at which the voter payment scheme was discussed under the guise of distributing checks for 'voter hauling.'"

Brenda Hays allegedly signed 680 checks on the account of "Hays For District Judge," for $50 each and left the payee line blank and wrote "vote haling" on the memo line of the checks, according to the indictment.

The six other Pike County men allegedly picked up the checks from Brenda Hays for distribution to potential voters, according to the indictment.

Those indictments in each county face up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, plus three years of supervised release.

No arraignment date has been set for those indictments issued Friday.

Federal officials say the investigation into vote fraud is continuing.

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