2 McCracken County officials going to trial

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Associated Press

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 4 at 9:01 AM

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Two top officials in McCracken County have declined to take plea offers and plan to go to trial on charges of tampering with public records.

The Paducah Sun (http://bit.ly/1lWem0u) reports special Prosecutor G.L. Ovey said on Wednesday during a pretrial conference that a plea offer would no longer be extended to Judge-Executive Van Newberry and Deputy Judge-Executive Doug Harnice.

"Today was the day to accept the offers," Ovey said. "At this point, those offers are withdrawn and, minus any unforeseen circumstances, we will be going to trial on Jan. 6."

The two were indicted by a grand jury earlier this year in connection with unauthorized zone changes in the county affecting at least 500 pieces of property. An investigation allegedly found that property lines were changed in 2007 and 2008 without proper approval from county officials.

Both men have entered pleas of not guilty.

"All good lawyers explore settling a case without a trial," said Will Kautz, who is representing Newberry. "The problem in this case is that Judge Newberry has done nothing wrong.

"When representing someone that has done nothing wrong, there is not much room for compromise," Kautz continued. "The offer that was extended would have Judge Newberry admitting to something, and he is guilty of nothing."

Newberry has filed his intent to run for re-election in November.

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Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com

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