Kentucky Senate convicts former prosecutor

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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By Liam Niemeyer

Kentucky Lantern

In the first Kentucky Senate impeachment trial in more than a century, senators on Thursday unanimously convicted a former prosecutor who asked a defendant for nude images in exchange for prosecutorial favors.

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The Kentucky Supreme Court suspended Ronnie Goldy — the former commonwealth’s attorney for the 21st Judicial Circuit serving Rowan, Menifee, Bath and Montgomery counties — last year following a Louisville Courier-Journal report that found Goldy exchanged hundreds of pages of social media messages with a defendant. The defendant had testified that, in exchange for photos, Goldy withdrew warrants and had cases continued.

A bipartisan impeachment committee in the Kentucky House of Representatives drafted three articles of impeachment against Goldy, which the full House unanimously approved in February.

A Senate committee heard evidence against Goldy earlier this month from members of the House impeachment committee and adopted findings of fact and a judgment against Goldy.

The impeached prosecutor did not come to testify before that Senate committee and had sent a letter of resignation effective Feb. 28 to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The Senate proceeded to unanimously adopt all three articles of impeachment and the judgment against Goldy, which means he will be prohibited from holding any public office in Kentucky in the future.

“What we are actually doing here is overturning an election. No one but the legislature should or can do this,” said Sen. Michael Nemes, R-Sheperdsville. “Only we the people through their representatives, the legislature, should decide if that person can hold office in Kentucky again.”

Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, who was a part of the Senate committee who heard evidence against Goldy, said the process was “flawless” in providing the impeached prosecutor multiple opportunities to defend himself.

“At every opportunity Mr. Goldy was given an opportunity for notice. He was notified twice by this body that we would try him in this case,” Thomas said. “I can assure all my colleagues that his due process rights were strictly provided by and in accordance with the constitution.”

A call to the office of an attorney representing Goldy was not immediately returned.

The last time the state Senate held an impeachment trial was in 1888. State Treasurer “Honest Dick” Tate was impeached and tried in his absence for stealing nearly $200,000 in state funds and fleeing.

The impeachment committee in the House was also considering whether to draft articles of impeachment against another suspended prosecutor Rick Boling in Western Kentucky, who also eventually resigned. The committee did not move forward with drafting articles.