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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Judge Orders Governor Steve Beshear To Testify In "Cesspool" Case Of Road Contractor Leonard Lawson And Transportation Secretary William Nighbert.

Read more here, or excerpts below:

Judge: Beshear must testify in bid-tampering trial
By Beth Musgrave

COVINGTON — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Gov. Steve Beshear will have to testify in person at an upcoming criminal trial involving top road contractor Leonard Lawson and former Transportation Secretary William Nighbert.

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves ruled Tuesday that Beshear could make room in his schedule to testify sometime during the three-week trial, scheduled to begin June 23.

But Reeves said he would be open to discussing Beshear’s schedule again next month.

Federal prosecutors and the governor’s attorneys had argued that Beshear should be allowed to give a video deposition in the case because of a possible special legislative session in late June to deal with a projected state budget shortfall.

“Covington, quite frankly, is not that far from Frankfort,” Reeves said Tuesday.

But Beshear’s general counsel, Ellen Hesen, said it is likely that Beshear may have to call a special legislative session — which could fall at the same time as the three-week trial. When the legislature meets the governor has to be there, Hesen said. “That can be around the clock,” Hesen said of a special legislative session.

Reeves said he would take Beshear’s schedule into consideration and would be open to having court on a Saturday morning.
Beshear’s testimony will likely involve a conversation he had with Lawson.

Lawson and Nighbert face conspiracy, bribery and obstruction of justice charges. Lawson employee Brian Billings faces obstruction of justice charges. All three have pleaded not guilty.

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