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Committee Takes Steps to Oust Green

Members of the Louisville Metro Council Charging Committee met Friday to begin the process of removing Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1, from office.Last month, a bipartisan group of five city lawmakers signed a petition to oust Green after the Metro Ethics Commission ruled she violated the city's ethics law. The ethics panel slapped Green with its harshest penalty, handing out a letter of reprimand and censure while recommending removal from office.The committee appointed Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, and Councilwoman Kevin Kramer, R-11, to co-chair the group, who signed legal documents notifying the council president's office they are prepared to move forward with the charges.Attorney Gregg Hovious was appointed the committee’s legal counsel and says the removal trial could begin in early August and last up to three days. Unlike the ethics hearings, where Green was provided a taxpayer funded attorney during the ethics hearings, she must pay for her own counsel for the removal trial.Asked what the removal trial will cover, Hovious says the trial-like proceedings could include allegations that go beyond the ethics charges depending on Green’s testimony."There obviously—as you know—have been allegations of wrongdoing against Ms. Green in the past and if she presents certain defenses then those allegations will certainly become relevant," he says.The prosecution will subpoena a number of witnesses to testify who refused to speak before the ethics panel, including former city auditor Mike Norman, the councilwoman’s former and current legislative aides and leaders of non-profit groups that receive District 1 discretionary funds.Once the council president determines a trial date, the remaining 20 members of the council will act as a court who will decide Green's fate by a two-thirds vote.On Thursday, Green filed a motion with Jefferson Circuit Court appealing the ethics panel’s decision in the first complaint. The commission is expected to make a decision in the second ethics case facing Green early next week.