Ex-Martin mayor accused of voter intimidation

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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

MARTIN, Ky. (AP) — A former Floyd County mayor already charged with defrauding the Social Security Administration and misapplying federal funds now faces charges of conspiring to intimidate voters.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/18XXJwS) former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and five others are accused of using bribes and threats to try to get people to vote for Robinson in November 2012.

According to court records, they approached people who lived in city-run public housing and rental housing owned by Robinson. They are accused of offering some people better apartments and threatening others with eviction.

In one instance, the indictment said, two people now charged in the case harassed a man so badly that he wouldn't leave his apartment for fear of physical harm.

Robinson ultimately lost her bid for another term as mayor of the city of 600.

A federal grand jury indicted Robinson in mid-December. Indicted with her were Robinson's husband, James "Red" Robinson; his son, James Steven Robinson; city employees Ginger Halbert and Henry Mullins; and Johnny Moore.

All except Halbert are also accused of paying some voters. The defendants have an initial appearance scheduled for Jan. 7.

In a separate case, the former mayor; her daughter, Rita Whicker; Halbert; and city bookkeeper Ethel Clouse were charged in October in a disability fraud scheme.

That indictment charged that Halbert, who was receiving disability payments from the government, hid the income from her city job by receiving paychecks in the name of her son.

Halbert also is charged with getting $72,000 in disability payments she wasn't entitled to receive and with using her son's name to cash payroll checks.

All four have pleaded not guilty. They are scheduled for trial Jan. 21.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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