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Former Mine Inspector to Plead Guilty to Bribery Charge

A former state mine inspector plans to plead guilty to bribery charges in federal court next week.

Kelly Shortridge was indicted in October, along with former Democratic state legislator Keith Hall.Federal prosecutors allege that Hall paid Shortridge $46,000 over a five year period to ignore violations at a Pikeville mine Hall owned. Shortridge is also accused of attempting to extort Hall; he allegedly told Hall that if he didn’t pay him owed money he’d get another inspector to cite Hall’s mine for serious violations.

At the time, Hall was a longtime state representative. He was defeated last year in the Democratic primary for his House seat.

In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Shortridge’s attorney indicated he will enter a plea deal to one count of bribery. According to federal sentencing guidelines, the bribery charge could carry with it up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But the documents indicate Shortridge is cooperating with the prosecution, which could result in a shorter sentence.

Shortridge is scheduled to appear in court in Lexington on March 18 at 11:00am. Hall’s court date is April 20.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.