Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adkins, Harvey Plead Guilty to Federal Election Fraud Charges

this is an audio post - click to play

Logan County Clerk Glen "Hound Dog" Adkins and former United Mine Workers official Perry Harvey both pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Charleston to federal election fraud charges stemming from the long-running investigation into political corruption in Lincoln and Logan counties.

Adkins, who has been County Clerk since 1987 (and whose predecessor in that office was Joe C. Ferrell, see below), admitted to accepting $500 in 1996 in consideration for his vote for a candidate for county magistrate and for influencing the votes of others in this election.

Harvey pleaded guilty to conspiring to buy votes in 2004 with former Logan mayor Tom Esposito. Esposito--who was featured in a front page Washington Post story a couple of weeks ago and alleged to be a "sham candidate"--temporarily ran for the House of Delegates last year in conjunction with the FBI's probe of vote buying in Logan County. Esposito paid $2,000 supplied by the FBI to Harvey and another man--Ernie Mangus, who has received immunity for his upcoming testimony--early last year before dropping out of the race. Because of a peculiar rule requiring at least one of the four delegates elected from the 19th District to not be from the same county, Esposito contrary to other press accounts, did not have any impact on the outcome of the Democratic primary.

While both Adkins and Harvey each face up to 5 years in federal prison, their guilty pleas indicate they are cooperating with prosecutors and will likely receive minimal jail time or perhaps no jail time. Several weeks ago, it was revealed that Delegate Joe C. Ferrell, D-Logan, agreed to testify against Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Greg Stowers and Lincoln County Assessor Jerry Weaver in their federal election fraud trial next month. While Ferrell's plea bargain is still under wraps, this cat was let out of the bag two months ago when the judge required Stowers to hire a new lawyer because Stowers's previous lawyer, Bob Allen, was also representing Ferrell.

Stay tuned, folks.