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Ky. Senate panel considers first impeachment since 1888

The halls in Kentucky's capitol building in Frankfort
Alix Mattingly
The hall in Kentucky's Capitol building in Frankfort.

A former prosecutor from eastern Kentucky allegedly solicited nude photos from defendants in exchange for favors in court. Now the state Senate is considering an impeachment conviction against him.

For the first time in 135 years, a Kentucky Senate impeachment committee heard testimony against a former elected official.

Ronnie Goldy resigned from his role as the commonwealth’s attorney for Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan Counties earlier this year after allegations that he solicited nude photos from a defendant in exchange for favors in court.

Goldy has denied wrongdoing, but neither he nor his lawyer attended Tuesday’s impeachment proceedings.

The House already voted to impeach Goldy with a vote of 97-0. Now the Senate will decide whether to convict him.

Rep. Daniel Elliott, a Republican from Danville and chair of the House’s impeachment efforts, said Goldy can’t be trusted to hold public office.

“Because Mr. Goldy is no longer licensed to practice law, he couldn’t carry out the duties of his office. In fact, he’s no longer qualified for election to the office for which he is serving,” Elliott said.

First reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, Goldy promised to help a defendant in exchange for nude photos and videos of herself. In a series of Facebook messages, Goldy requested photos and then urged a judge to withdraw warrants and delay court hearings.

Brian Wright, commonwealth’s attorney for Adair and Casey Counties, said evidence shows a series of improper requests from Goldy.

“There’s no way to read through the context of those messages and come away with any conclusion other than that’s what he was asking, and almost begging for,” he said. “It was over and over and over again.”

The last time impeachment proceedings made it to the Senate was 1888 when Treasurer James “Honest Dick” Tate was convicted of embezzling nearly $250,000 in state funds and fleeing the country, never to be seen again.

The Senate impeachment committee is meeting while the full legislature is on a break for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto period.

If the committee recommends Goldy to be convicted, senators will consider the matter when they return for the final two days of the legislative session on March 29 and 30.


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